On Sunday morning the Gladies left London in the blazing sunshine to play our first league match against Trojans, based just outside of Southampton a mere two hour (or three, if Emma is driving) car journey away. Just as we arrived, 45 minutes late, (Charley was map reading) it started to pour and all the flare moves that had been planned over the last three hours went out of the window.

Hackney had the kick off and made a good start with Lydia Meeson and Helen Doig making a great chase and putting pressure on the receiving Trojans. From the very start, the Hackney defence put in tackle after tackle, frequently working in twos to bring down the Trojans who ran strong, confident lines with the ball in hand. Such was the intensity of the tackling, the Gladies forced the Trojans to concede scrums as the ball was knocked on in the contact. Last season a scrum was a scary prospect for the Gladies with the majority of the pack new to scrummaging; on Sunday the experience gained last year by players such as Ciara Wild and Juliette V-W shone through, not to mention the addition of new Glady Astrid at prop. Flic Auer put tremendous pressure on the opposition 8 by coming out of the scrum at such pace and making a number of crucial hits. But it was in the Hackney scrum where the Gladies really showed how far they.ve come; with Emma Middleton using the number 8 pick up to devastating effect, Hackney made ground by Middleton going blind supported by Charley Miller at scrum half, Kate Pierpont/Helen Doig at winger and Emma Wade (who made her Hackney debut) at full back.

As a result of excellent defensive work (and the .magical. scrums), the first half ended 0-0. The second half saw more attacking play from both teams; Trojans were winning most of the line outs, but Sophie Campbell kept the pressure off by booting it back into their half at every opportunity she got, determined to create chances for our backs to outpace theirs. In the end, the pressure from the Trojans resulted in a try being scored off a penalty, unfortunately one of many conceded by the Gladies, given deep in the Hackney 22. Letting their heads drop, the Gladies conceded again in quick succession, this time right under the posts and duly converted by the Trojans. fly half.

Hackney spent the final twenty minutes in the Trojans. 22, aided greatly by Sam maintaining the pressure on their defence by kicking a number of penalties far into the corner and keeping us in close range of the try line. The last play of the match brought one of the few opportunities for the Gladies. backs to use the full width of the pitch; with great hands through the centre from Meeson, Doig took a .magical. run scoring Hackney.s only try! It was only after she left to her feet to celebrate that she realised that she had put the ball down just past the five metre line. The referee blew for full time just seconds afterwards, leaving all players (with the exception of Doig) with a smile on their face.

The teams were fairly evenly matched and the Gladies fought every step of the way. Every player on the pitch defended and tackled beautifully; most of the forwards played well beyond their experience and it was fantastic to see how far we have come since our first matches. Special mention goes to Lydia and Emma Wade who travelled down to Trojans to make their debuts for the Gladies. Woman of the Match goes to Sam who was making the tackles, turning over their ball, kicking the penalties and making some seriously good runs. She is a great new addition to the Gladies and we are ecstatic to have her.

Captain.s note: We may not have left Southampton with a victory but we did make an impression. I got an email this morning from their Scrum Half asking for our no. 9's number. But there will be no fraternising because when they come to visit in January we are going to destroy them!