Thurrock T-Birds 31 v 5 Hove
AS one of only four sides who have ever beaten the T-Birds during six seasons in Championship One, there is always a bit of spice in a game against Hove, even more so having lost at their place this season.
With their massive pack, they play a game that somehow the T-Birds find hard to counter and these games are usually dour affairs as Ts get drawn into an arm wrestle instead of playing their own game.
With a dominant scrum and a good supply of ball, Thurrock should have been away and clear in the first 15 minutes, with 2 clear cut chances spurned, but perhaps playing with a bit too much vim and vigour, the penalty count steadily rose against them and only the magnificent offensive defence kept the game alive.
Finally Rettie, having been returned to the Club by Scotland to get game time, made a 40 meter run from inside her own half and the offload set up Natalie Smith for the first score of the game, Cook’s conversion adding the extras for 7 nil.
Now playing with a bit more fluidity, T’s attacked straight from a scrum on Hove’s 10 meter line, Harvey finding the first gap and Tyler breaking 3 tackles to cross the whitewash for 12-0 and so it remained until half time.
T-s came out for the second period with a new intensity. Chasing the kick off they turned over the ball in the tackle and Hepper carried for 30 meters through midfield, bodies flying in her wake, then going wide, Smith was almost in for her second but a high tackle prevented the score and the referee ran under the posts to award the penalty try.
With a gap developing on the scoreboard, T’s opened up their game, only silly mistakes and some fine last ditch tackling from Hove denying another score, but perhaps too intent on attack, pressing Hove hard on their own 22, Hove’s Sharman found a gap and Martin made a fine 50 meter run to score.
Unfortunately a potentially serious neck injury to a Hove player disrupted the game and necessitated a move to another pitch.
Shortly into the restarted game, Ts had a scrum on the Hove 5 meter line and went for the pushover. With Hove illegally collapsing the scrum as the drive came on, the referee once again ran under the posts, for the second Penalty Try of the game.
Ts now went hunting for the 5th try and the bonus point, but once again the game was disrupted for an injury, the game on the verge of making a move to a third pitch before the player recovered enough to be moved.
A scrappy last 20 minutes saw Hove move to uncontested scrums as they ran out of Front Row and Thurrock sportingly allowing a substituted player to return to the pitch.
Parsad went on to collect the vital 5th try for the bonus point and the game finished at 31-5.
The injured Hove player, after lying on the cold ground for nearly 3 hours awaiting the ambulance, was fortunately found to not be seriously injured and released from Hospital.
The T-Birds are now top of Championship One South with 2 away games to play and their destiny in their own hands.
Team : Parsad (T), Smith (T), Stopps, Tyler, Lawther, Harvey. I, Cook (capt) (C), Hepper, Foy, Pugh, Franklin, Nichols, Baker, Rettie, Earwicker Replacements: Cook, Picton. F, Shaw, French, Dixon, Macdonald, Longdon-Hughes.
The T-Birds now travel to Trojans just outside Southampton on 4th March.
As always, Thurrock Ladies, the T-Birds, welcome new players of any standard to their 2 teams.
No matter how big or small, there is a place for you in a Rugby Team. Many are beginners, playing in their first Season, so don’t be put off if you are new to the game.
We can promise you great training and a great social life. Just turn up on a Wednesday evening at 7.30.