OA Saints set for final day showdown after sweeping rivals Thurrock aside
- Credit: Archant
OA Saints produced their best performance of the season to take the title battle in Women’s Championship South to the wire.
The emphatic 29-12 win over Thurrock at Woollams means Saints are second in the table, level on points with leaders Blackheath and one point now above their Essex visitors with one game to go.
Throw into the mix the fact that Blackheath host Thurrock on February 8, then Saints' home game with Trojans on the same day could see the St Albans-based club clinch the crown in their first year back in the division.
They will play that match full of confidence after a thorough dismantling of Thurrock.
Forward dominance combined with an accurate and fluent back division led to the bonus-point being secured shortly after half-time.
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The performance in the first period was simply fantastic.
The Saints took the lead from a turnover in the Thurrock half. A fortunate bounce was pounced upon by Beth Saunders who then raced around the scrambling defence to dive over in the corner.
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Not satisfied with one early score the hosts added to their account after Siobhan Drummond powered deep into be opposition 22 off a strong scrum.
The speed of the ball was too quick for Thurrock to recover and Caz Bolton finished in style in the corner.
The relentless Saints attack showed no sign of slowing after this either as Steph Plunkett scored twice, jinked and jived her way through three defenders off another turnover for the first before exploiting slower forwards in the midfield to break to the line.
It meant a 24-0 lead at the break but Thurrock showed their teeth after the restart, their pressure eventually breaching the defensive wall twice in the matter of a few minutes.
Any comeback though was nipped quickly in the bud by an outstanding score.
Saunders fielded a loose ball from an attacking scrum and set off on a mazy run across the pitch to establish field position just outside the Thurrock 22.
And from that base camp the ball was then moved wide with Caz Bolton providing the final thrust, slicing through to extend the home side's lead to 29-12.
Thurrock laid siege to the Saints line for the final 10 minutes but the hosts held firm to deny the visitors any chance of what could have been a valuable bonus point.