The Gladies kicked their season off with a hard fought win over Stanford Le Hope at Springhill on Saturday. It wasn't a vintage performance, but cobwebs were shaken free and by the final whistle the positives certainly outweighed the negatives, not least the performances of the newest Gladies.

As the game kicked off it seemed all but one of the Gladies were still enjoying their summer holiday. Unfortunately that one Glady was captain Emma Middleton who had pulled on a Stanford shirt to ensure the game could include contested scrums. Middleton made a great break down the blind, and despite being hauled down by some determined (usual) team-mates she popped up again at the next phase to touch down in the corner. For the next ten minutes it was one way traffic as the travelling team continued to launch attack after attack and racked up a 15 point lead. With the Gladies in disarray it looked like being a long re-introduction to the game.

The turnaround was started by scrum half Charley Miller, with a HUGE hit on Stanford's biggest player. Miller's example was followed by her team-mates, not least Amy Hague and Charis Gambrill. On the front foot Hackney looked a different team, and when their defence forced Stanford to cough up the ball the game took on a different complexion. First Felicity Auer touched down after a series of drives up the field by the Gladies pack, then Miller added another with a strong blindside break of her own. By half time the home side were within a score, and shortly after they were ahead when fly half Sophie Campbell raced away. Playing with confidence, against a tiring Stanford side Hackney made sure in the last quarter. Substitute Centre Helen Doig raced onto a well timed pass from fly half Sophie Campbell to show just how much she has improved over the summer. Tessie Bintoh came on out of position on the wing and added a try on her debut. And then Campbell scored again, exploiting the uncertainty she had sewn in the defence's minds.

By the final whistle Hackney were in control and looking like an exciting, dangerous team. Miles from how they started then, but that's what pre-season is for. There were too many impressive performances to single them all out, but a number of the newest Gladies put in eye-catching performances. Sam Shirley and Charis Gambrill played a big part in standing up to Stanford's bigger and more experienced pack. Tessie Bintoh and Amy Hague slotted into the backline so smoothly you'd never have guessed they were new to the side. But WOTM wasn't only a debutant to Hackney, she was playing her first ever game of rugby after only two training sessions! That didn't stop Astrid Bjorvig from holding her own at scrum time and more than holding her own in open play, with a series of strong hits and some powerful carries. A brilliant, brilliant performance.