As Spring Hill was embarking upon it's annual transition into an Olympic swimming pool, the Hackney Gladies game v Barnes had a swift change of location and the girls cycled, drove, bussed, tubed, trained, walked and swam across the borough to Hackney Marshes. Unfortunately Barnes were too preoccupied with the beauty of Stamford Hill and it's own microclimate to check their emails and do the same. Disaster averted as SuperJessCobb swooped in to scoop them up and bring them across to the right location. Despite the referee worrying about it getting dark he postponed kick off and the girls finally booted off at 14:45, not before Barnes requested uncontested scrums after hearing Astrid and Kat Barber's terrifying roars echoing across the wet soggy marsh during the warm up.

The rain showed absolutely no sign of stopping, and as it poured down Hackney held strong at 14 aside, with some good pack work despite not being allowed to boss the scrum as usual. Big hits from the Barber sisters and tireless consistency from forwards Elly and Emily ensured that even in the horrendously slippery conditions the rucking and mauling was strong. Suddenly Barnes decided the best thing to do in windy, freezing cold and wet conditions was to kick the ball long and hard repeatedly, ensuring that fly half Emily Ryan and fullback Sonja were persistently under pressure to collect and return some seriously slippery ball. Sarah Lawrence displayed some great rucking until an, erm, misplaced opposition boot ended up where no boot should ever go and a little rest was needed on the sideline, a reshuffle allowed Mary Westcott to come on and show off some brick-winning tackles.

Lots of pressure and knock-ons made for a frustrating game, but both teams seemed pretty evenly matched until Barnes unleashed their secret weapon, a super speedy winger who took advantage of a turnover just before half time to sprint round the backs and score. Unconverted, Hackney fought back to put Barnes under immense pressure in all lineouts, with a good few steals and excellent mauling work from Lamees and Emma. Kat K moving from scrum half to wing enabled her to make some excellent tackles and accurate catching of the opposition's relentless kicking.

After halftime, the referee's approach of 'coaching' as well as adjudicating meant the dusk was drawing in quickly and mistakes continued to be made by both teams, resulting in a lot of uncontested scrums. Hackney's backs worked hard, with Paula and both Abbies having to work with such a slippery ball and still keeping pace and pressure. Unfortunately the conditions and lack of scrummaging meant Hackney's skills were not well displayed, and Barnes unleashed the winger two more times to score under the posts, both converted.

The Gladies worked tirelessly and deserved a score much better than the one achieved, and although there is work to be done, the team showed serious stamina in horrendously wet conditions and did the club proud. Big shout to Mr and Mrs Barber for super support in their umbrellas and wellies, and to the Hackney Belles for coming down in the pouring rain and joining in the warm up, then giving some cracking support.

MOTM - Elly Lock for consistent smashing and a great positive attitude.

Brick of the week - Mary Westcott for smashing a hit that made the oppo's coach go 'oooh ouch'.

Big thanks to Sagan and Jess Cobb for tireless support, and to Abi Grove for yummy food provision!