Bottom of the table Romford and Gidea Park came to Oakfield and duly fulfilled their expected role as “Fall Guys” to a T-Birds team desperate for points in their pursuit of a third successive league title.
However, even having scored 11 trys the T-Birds will look at this as a “could have done better” performance.
With a decent crowd on the sidelines following a VP lunch, Romford started brightly enough, their pack obviously “up for it”, knowing from previous experience that the Ts would quickly exploit any sign of weakness.
Even with little ball, the T’s back line always looked ominous, the pressure defence causing panic in Romford’s midfield and with pace everywhere in attack.
Sure enough after a fairly even 10 minutes, T’s shipped clean fast ball wide for Winger and top scorer Dannie Harriss to take on the Full Back. Very few players can live with her pace, and sure enough she was under the posts in 12 minutes.
Romford immediately tried to defend with more width, but that only allowed centre Becky Prosser to crash through the midfield and offload in the tackle 10M out to scorer Charlie West only 3 minutes later
Now in a quandary over how to defend and with a touch of panic creeping in to Romford’s defence Ts created a “team try”. From a midfield scrum, a move straight off the training park took the ball to the left touchline and recycling the ball quickly the ball went right through the entire backline hands until Dannie Harriss got away again to touch down in the corner.
18 minutes and 17-0.
At this point and visibly on top Ts began to break down as a Team, with everyone wanting a chance to score.
Overlaps were spurned, one contact too many was taken and poor passes given at the wrong time were dropped.
Still Sally Appleton set off on a mazy run from a ruck and again with the ball going through 3 sets of hands, Dannie Harriss got away on the 25 minute mark for her hat trick and 22-0.
Unfortunately during this scoring move, one of the Romford players tripped over two other players on the ground, resulting in a nasty injury which required the attendance of a paramedic and then an ambulance.
Initially the teams retired to the changing rooms and then eventually the game was switched to the far pitch after a delay of nearly 20 minutes.
By this time, a cold drizzle was falling and this combined with the break and loss of concentration on both sides led to a very fragmented game with neither side managing to impose much structure and dropped balls abounded.
T’s finally got their organisation sorted out again and Cherelle Alphonse who had made several fine breakaways, claimed the only forward try of the day and other winger Amy Bird also got over the try line before halftime for a score of 32-0.
Restarting back on the original pitch there was deadlock for 15 minutes or so, Romford initially defending gamely. However, a series of penalties and a good catch and drive twice took Romford nearly to the try line, only to be rebuffed by the resolute T’s defence..
25 minutes in, T’s fullback Sally Appleton collected a loose kick and attacked, initially splitting the defence, she was caught inches short of the line and crashed backwards into the post, the padding preventing injury, and presenting the ball nicely for Dannie Harriss following up to pick up and drop over the line for her 4th try of the day, Converted by Laura Kavanagh for 39-0.
Romford pressed again and winning a penalty on T’s 22, elected to kick for points, but missed. T’s now appeared more settled and structured and began to play something more like their usual game. The pack now visibly on top in both the set piece and loose and prop Charlotte Micalleff constantly stealing the ball in contact.
The Romford defence had no answers and Kat Emerson returning from injury on the wing for Amy Bird quickly claimed a brace of trys on the blind side for 49-0.
Romford never stopped defending and their heads never dropped but the now rampant Ts backline ran riot, running everything, even from behind their own line. From a reset scrum on the centre spot another training park move get Sally Appleton away and between the posts on 32 minutes.
Then in another fine team move, set up by Kat Emerson, carried on by Becky Prosser who then put Lauren Kidd away for a late try.
Final score 59-0.
Forward of the Match was Captain Mercedes Foy who also won the boat race and Back of the match Scrum Half Amy “Radders” Radford
With other results going T’s way, their destiny and the League title is again in their own hands, every other team having already lost 2 games and Ts only one. If they remain unbeaten in the remaining 4 games T’s will win the League.
T’s resume with 2 really tough games which will probably decide the destination of the title.
Next week, 21st Feb, Away to Blackheath and Away to Wasps II on the 7th March.
T’s then finish the Season with 2 home games at Oakfield, Rosslyn Park on 21st March and Blackheath again on 28th March.