With the season drawing to a close but still all to play for, the T-Birds made the journey round the length of the North Circular to Acton and Wasps to play their Seconds in what was probably the title decider. Winner take all.
Wasps will always be exceptionally well organised but the strength of the second team always depends on if and where the First Team are playing in the Premiership. This time their Full Back had been capped 50 times for England.
The T-Birds started brightly and initially looked the better team. The pack were dominant in scrum and lineout, but due mainly to the very young age and lack of experience at this level, were following the recent pattern of not taking that dominance through to open play.
Taking a scrum against the head on half way, T’s attacked wide and right before going into touch. Then taking the lineout against the throw, Dannie Harris was put away to attack the same channel only to be cut down 10 meters short of the line. This time good rucking gave quick ball and the T’s backline were unstoppable with Kerry Jacks crashing over for her first T-Birds try. 10 minutes, 0-5.
The rest of the first half was relatively uneventful, both sides having good periods of pressure, but both defences holding well with no further scores.
The Wasps team talk at half time really must have been something else.
A missed tackle in midfield let them set up camp on the T’s line and despite desperate defence and a couple of turnovers, Ts just could not get the ball away.
Finally a quick tap from a dubious penalty let their big second row crash over the line. 5 minutes into the half and 5-5.
The next 20 minutes were a repeat of the first half war of attrition. Plenty of attacks and pressure from both sides matched by resolute defence with maybe T’s just shading it and it looked like the next score would win the game.
Then T’s pack woke up. Driving a maul over 30 meters T’s set up stall in the Wasps 22 and applied a long period of pressure. Penalty followed penalty but Wasps just managed to keep T’s away from the line.
Finally from another dominant scrum, Tammy Nichols picked up at No 8 and moved the ball wide to Dannie Harriss who’s speed carried her over in the corner. 5-10 with 15 minutes to go and the game looked won.
With title hopes fading Wasps really stepped up a gear in the dying seconds of normal time they again got through the T’s midfield and were awarded a penalty on the 5 meter line in the left corner. The first attack was cut down just in front of the posts, but quick ball from the ruck allowed their second row to claim her brace in the right corner. 42 minutes on the clock and 10-10.
With the Ref calling 3 minutes T’s gave it everything, attacking from the kick off they were awarded a penalty 30 meters out in front of the posts. Laura Kavanagh’s kick was straight but crucially just short and Wasps cleared the ball to touch.
With time still not up Ts gave it one last attack, Dannie Harriss again getting away down the right flank only to be put into touch just short.
The final whistle and a 10-10 draw did nothing for the title hopes of either team. The maths are too close to call and will rely entirely on bonus points in other games.
T’s now finish the Season with 2 home games at Oakfield, Rosslyn Park on 21st March and Blackheath again on 28th March which still might just be the title decider.