Perfect rugby weather and the first fun bus of the season saw 17 sterling Hammerettes travel away to OAs for our first meeting of the season. The atmosphere was calm despite lack of numbers, injuries and the task that awaited us.
2.45pm saw us go into battle with Mark’s secret squirrel game plan (read slow the game down at every opportunity in whatever manner to conserve energy). The first 20 minutes was hard fought with big hits and runs coming in from both sides. OAs, keen to win the league this season, tested us again and again. I think they’d hoped it would be an easy match as we had tried to rearrange the fixture due to injury and lack of numbers. However, in true hammers style we proved them wrong. Some great handling from them though saw the first try and conversion of the match. Another 20 minutes of battling saw them score again and be awarded a yellow card for dodgy handling in the rucks, but also gave us what we deserved, our first try and conversion from Michelle just before half time. 14-7.
The second half brought more of the same. OAs had started to panic however as the easy game they had thought would happen did not materialise. They tried to bring on the big gun (international player) but apart from her handoff technique she could not break through our defensive line.
It was quite stop start with the number of (cough) injuries. We really do need a code word so I don’t have a heart attack on the pitch. Again some beautiful handing from OAs brought them their 3rd try of the game. Our heads did not drop and our solid unit prevented them from scoring again and getting a bonus point. Final score 21-7.
I would like to point out here that the forwards were formidable, all the hard training has paid off in beautifully executed mauls and scrum turnovers. I would like to thank them for letting me into the pack in order to conserve my leg, it was a lot of fun!
Forward of the match went to Hannah for her Amazonian runs and big hits consistently throughout the match on a dodgy ankle.
Back of the match went to Sophie T playing at fly half for her defensive work and kicking skills that saw many an OA attack thwarted.
Special pint went to our beautiful Becki who played her last match for the Hammers or so she thinks! She is leaving us to work for her other passion in life. We will miss her greatly but once a Hammer always a Hammer and she will always be welcome.
Special thanks go to Alison for running touch, Aleena on her first Hammers outing for being water girl and assistant Physio, HP for giving up NFL tickets and her battle with SEtrains, Annabel for her versatility in playing forward then back then forward then back, Marion for her 100% commitment to the team despite injury and her hugs, Helene for stepping in and speaking at the end when I was a blubbering mess, Bhomdat and Andy for their consistent support and supply of port, Frenchie for stepping in like a warrior to help with numbers despite her retirement, Arienne and Will, the Collings clan, Annabel’s parents for coming along to support, and as always, Mark for believing in what we are capable of and can achieve.
Sorry about the Oscars speech but a lot goes unnoticed and we would not be the hammers without them. Apologies if I have forgotten anyone. I am so proud of our efforts on the pitch and proud to be part of the hammers team.