OA Saints on track to realise their full potential as second team get off to a great start
PUBLISHED: 11:19 20 February 2020
The positive mood at OA Saints shows no sign of stopping as they ticked off another major milestone.
Hot on the heels of the first team claiming the Women's Championship South title in a dramatic final day showdown, the club fielded a second team for the first time in nine years as they travelled to Westcliff Rugby Club in Southend.
It is an exciting development for the Saints and much needed in order to unlock their full potential and become a dominant force in the women's game.
It is also providing a pathway for the talented youngsters at Woollams, bridging the sizeable gap between the junior section and the Championship.
With a dedicated coach in Dale Baines and Iona McCusker named as skipper, the hope is they will join the league system next season.
And the rebirth proved hugely successful as they completed a 36-0 win on a wet and windy day.
A quick start by the Saints saw scrum-half McCusker use a pick and go to open the scoring and with the hosts still in shock, Sam Ganske crashed over with McCusker converting.
And the pressure was relentless from the visitors as they got to a 31-0 lead by half-time.
Paige Hossack bagged try number three under the posts, Katie Logan kicking the extras, and winger Eloise Bloomfield showed some clever footwork to add the fourth try.
One more try came before the break, Lou Russell bursting off the back of a scrum to set-up Phaedra Cocks with McCusker again adding the conversion.
Conditions remained just as filthy for the second half but Westcliff were able to stay in the game in with their pack experiencing more joy.
But Saints, with debutant Allena Hattingh winning turnovers at the breakdown, still got the only score of the half when Ganske crossed for her second try.
Coach Baines said: "I'm just really proud of all the players for playing in horrible conditions. It was fantastic to see them coming together as a team for the first time."
Further games are planned for the remainder of the season with the next one at home against Cheshunt on March 8.
That is followed by another home game against Stockwood Park on March 22 and then a trip to Hackney in April.