Hammers Women sit top-of-the-table!

The final fun bus of the season was upon us. And the last fun bus needed to be an epic journey, so the Hammers 1XV made their way down to Canterbury to face an unfamiliar team. Due to flooded pitches earlier in the season, this was the first time the two teams were facing off against each other. Although Canterbury are low in the rankings this is a very competitive league so we knew we would need a strong performance to get the bonus point win we wanted.
The wind was blowing hard from one end of the pitch to the other and Canterbury had the benefit of the wind in the first half, using it to their advantage with the boot of their 10. Hammers made the first big break through Sirri but Canterbury set the tone early with their ruck work getting the turnover. This pressure on the ruck was maintained by Caterbury for most of the first half. Despite this pressure, strong runs from the forwards started to pull their defence in and a lovely line from Lara put her under the posts for the first score of the game to make it 0-7. Despite good carries from Hammers at the restart, a Canterbury jackal earned them a kickable penalty to make it 3-7. Canterbury kept up the pressure and some Hammers ill-discipline saw a penalty on our 5-metre line. The Hammers defence held firm though and pushed Canterbury all the way back to the 22. Another penalty to Canterbury led to another kick to make it 6-7. Our heads didn’t drop and we went right back at them. Strong forwards carries in their 22 got us to within inches of the line before Kaye drove over the line. 6-12. Despite some more nice running from Hammers we gave away another penalty for holding on which Canterbury again kicked to make it 9-12 at half time.
In the second half Hammers had the wind but were playing uphill. We started to put significant pressure on their set piece, disrupting their lineout and marching the scrum backwards. Quick tap penalties put the Canterbury defence under pressure and their discipline started to slip. After two high tackles in quick succession, a third infringement saw them go down a player for 10 minutes. Kaye sensed this as her opportunity to become top try scorer and took another hard carry to crash over the line 9-19. Hammers kept hunting for that bonus point score with Steffy making a great break down the wing to get within 5 metres of the line. We kept the pressure up in their half until Tappers completed the bonus point score with a classic pick and go drop over the line 9-24. Canterbury weren’t disheartened and continued fighting, using their kicking game to their advantage. A kick in behind our defensive line with good pressure from their support runners led to a loose ball on our try line which Canterbury immediately scooped up and scored. 16-24. Hammers defence held firm after this to see out the end of the game. There was a little confusion in the final seconds but Alex booted the ball to touch to confirm the Hammers bonus point win. Final score 16-24.
Forward of the match: Kate Phillips
Back of the match: Aly Heine
Coaches player: Kaye Selby