Fresh from a sterling performance against Medway a fortnight ago the Hackney Gladies took to the field on a fresh autumn Sunday afternoon looking to make it two from two against a team who had been dominant in the league so far.

Famed for being the home of the Canterbury tales Hackney were clearly keen to not follow the script for this one. After spending the opening minutes absorbing the brunt of the Canterbury runners Hackney turned over the ball in midfield allowing Sonja Matthews pulling the strings at the less familiar role of 10 today to clear their lines allowing the Canterbury full back time to pick the ball up and peruse her options, or at least that was what she had hoped until she was introduced to Mary Westcott’s brand of North Devon rugby and lack of care for her own physical well being. Closely
followed by the supporting pack Hackney regained possession putting the opposition on to the back foot. Forced into giving away penalties the Gladies continued to make telling ground through Jojo and Emma Middleton to get 5m out, before a wayward lineout allowed Canterbury to clear there lines.

With play staying largely between the two 22m lines a spot of Déjà vu occurred a superb Lydia Meeson turn over allowed Sonja to again kick down field only for the recovering fullback to this time be binned by Chantelle Willis and again despite probing from the Hackney forwards were unable to turn pressure into points.

A quick ball out the back of the opposition scrum allowed their scrumhalf to get the ball wide and despite yet more superb tackling from the recently returning Emily Ryan and Kat ‘Usain’ Barber Canterbury were able to recycle quick ball and break the deadlock midway through the first half 7-0.

A lapse in concentration from the kick off allowed Canterbury to make quick yardage up the wing only for the Hackney back three to recover and allow Emma to turn over the ball despite some enthusiastic ‘rucking’ from the Canterbury pack. The latter stages of the 1st half turned into a halfway line war of attrition from both teams and the half remained 7-0.

With a growing number of supporters on the side lines including a trio of very hungover Ollie’s recovering from a well refreshed 3rd team game. Hackney continued to apply pressure on the Canterbury 22 only for a lapse in concentration allowing the Canterbury centre to break from deep and from a cross field kick were able to score in the corner. 12-0

With calls from Coach Sagan that the opposition was now ‘lubed’ the Hackney Gladies began to penetrate the opposition with Helen Doig growing in to her role at 9 allowed quick ball and eventually Jojo crashed over to bring Hackney within 7. An interesting choice of area to have a team talk allowed Canterbury to restart the game into a near empty Hackney half. Thankfully a combination of Gladies managed to combine well recovering the ball and allowing Jojo the opportunity to deliver another big pie to someone's face.

Hackneys blitz defence which had been so destructive throughout the game became their undoing for the 3rd Canterbury try when the 12 stepped through a dog leg and go from 30metres this was shortly
followed by the 4th from the Canterbury. This came at a cost for the away team who were beginning to regularly litter the pitch due to the strength of the hackney hits going in , none more so from Skipper Sarah Barber who when not getting head butted by her own teammates had time to make a vaguely legal tackle on the opposition 9, who she says she would’ve got her arms round her
to complete the tackle had she not been so quick to hit the floor first.

With the effort shown throughout this match the girls were determined to have the last word and with the last play of the game Charley Miller was able to give a show and go and go over for the final score of the game and bring to a close at 24-10 to Canterbury.

Brick of the week – When playing an unbeaten team midway through the season who had only been reduced to scoring less than 40 once this season, takes an incredible amount of effort and commitment from everyone involved and the Brick could’ve had several owners this week but Chantelle came up tops with a huge display on a sizable Canterbury team and even managed to last the game without adding to her list of injuries

Man of the Match - Was again a closely contested battle throughout the team and was eventually decided again due to the defensive work rate and willingness to put body before brains - literally when after clashing heads with her opposite number bounced up to go back to jumping in puddles whilst the Canterbury back row merely lay there for several minutes having a quiet word with herself. Another great display from Hackney 'newbie' May Westcott