Pride comes before the fall, and this Saturday it certainly did.

One minibus, a 90's pop infused playlist and a pack of sleepy eyed Hackney Gladies arrived in Havant ready to win. The team were down to 1 sub and knew they had to give it all if they were to make a statement. An inexperienced front row meant the game was to be played with uncontested scrums, though what the forwards lacked in experience in the scrum they definitely made up for in open play, with Kat Barber, Lydia Walker and Ciara Wild making some massive tackles throughout the whole game.

The Gladies soon realised that Havant were strong, and it was obvious that both their forwards and their backs had some pace. Just 7 minutes in and this was proven, with a Havant forward breaking through and though held in a maul, she managed to drive it over the line and put the first 5 points on the board. Another 7 minutes and the tables were turned, a penalty was given to Hackney. Charley Miller chose to kick for posts, effortlessly scoring 3 points. Unfortunately Havant then came back with absolute vengeance, breaking again over the line for another 2 tries, only one of which was converted.

After an impressive break by Sophie, the ball was turned over in a ruck, but what would have been another breakaway by Havant was stopped in her tracks by Lydia Walker, who absolutely smashed the tackle perfectly. The next impressive tackle came from Helen Doig, who chased down a winger and made a fantastic try saving tackle about 4 metres from the line (redeeming herself for the ballerina spin/forward pass combination she executed earlier!) After some impressive defending from Hackney, Havant managed to nip round the blindside to score another try.

Unfortunately the trend continued, with Hackney putting in big tackles and fast runs but Havant breaking their way back through, and scoring continuous tries at the beginning of the second half. Charley had another penalty kick opportunity which unfortunately hit the posts. Hackney’s backs certainly got more of a chance to run in the second half with Lydia Meeson, Helen and Anna Sereni especially showing some serious pace in the back line. Havant continued to show why they are top of the league, putting the final score at 42-3.

Despite the loss, The Gladies came away with heads held high – and rightly so. This was a lesson learned, with dignity.

The Gladies determination followed them into the Havant club house as they won the post-match boat race with ease. Second row Sarah Barber was awarded a well deserved Forward of the Match for her relentless big tackles and consistency, and winger Anna received Back of the Match for making some brilliant runs (despite being repeatedly tackled around the head!) Both Gladies downed their pints with pride – like true winners.