Dee double not enough for Saints
OA Saints 15 Darlington 39
The Old Albanian Saints came into their Premiership fixture with Darlington with a very positive attitude after a convincing win against the Army last weekend.
With a strong wind in their favour, the Sharks had the better start scoring after just two minutes with a try from full-back Ashleigh Wright. Sam Jaimeson missed the conversion to leave the score 0-5 to the Sharks.
The Saints found it difficult to clear their lines with the strong wind but held firm with some strong tackling from prop Ellisha Dee and back row Caroline Pretty and captain Leah Carey setting the standard.
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The Saints were put under pressure with some tidy kicking from the Sharks half backs but managed to withstand the pressure with some good kicking from centre Caroline Collie. Unfortunately, the Sharks managed to convert territory into points when hooker Jaimeson snuck over the line from the back of a ruck finding a gap in the Saints defence. Jaimeson converted her own try to make the score 0-12.
The Saints began the restart pinned in their own half again but showed good phases of running play from forwards Esther Wiel and Kat Brinsley before releasing the backs into space. Unfortunately, a spot of bad discipline from the Saints gave the Sharks a penalty right in front of the posts which Jaimeson converted to make the score 0-15.
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The Sharks received the restart well and picked a hole in the Saints defence to put their flanker Ruth Nash through for a try which Jaimeson again converted to make the score 0-22.
The Saints maintained their fighting spirit from the restart and continued to steal ball on the floor at the ruck area but were unlucky to give away another penalty which after a quick tap penalty resulted in Sharks fly half Georgia Roberts scoring under the posts. Jaimeson converted again to leave the half time score 0-29 to the Sharks.
The Sharks received the restart and worked their way down into the Saints 22 where after some strong defence by OAs, Sharks No.8 Sophie Spence snuck over the line with a neat pick and go. Jaimeson missed the conversion to leave the score 0-34.
With the wind in their favour, the Saints pinned the Sharks back in their own 22 on several occasions through excellent kicking from Collie and OAs fly half Emma Nichol. The Saints back 3 put some excellent pressure on the Sharks back line to ensure they struggled to clear the lines, as the Saints had in the first half.
Saints used the field position well to keep the pressure on the Sharks and force a penalty which Saints scrum half Nicky Cameron took quickly seeing space and feeding centre Zoe Warren on a crash ball right in front of the posts. With quick recycling of the ball from the Saints forwards, prop Dee picked up and dove over the line to make the score 5-34. Centre Collie converted to make the score 7-34. Collie slotted a difficult penalty kick soon after to make the score 10-34.
The Saints made a few changes in their backline and with several players in new positions did well to keep the Saints pinned back with kicks from Collie and Cameron.
The Sharks got the next score when after a solid scrum they fed centre Jennifer Edwards who with some quick footwork to get around the Saints defence scored to make the score10-39.
The Saints had the last score with an excellent lineout throw from substitute hooker Emma Cramphorn, Saints prop Dee took it one handed and ran over three players to make it two tries for the birthday girl. Collie failed to make the conversion leaving the score 15-39 to the Sharks.