Saints win in mud bath

PUBLISHED: 09:14 03 December 2009 | UPDATED: 14:44 06 May 2010

OA Saints celebrate. Photo: James Dennison

OA Saints celebrate. Photo: James Dennison

RFUW Championship South Hove 0 OA Saints 7 OA Saints recorded their fifth successive win this weekend by grinding out a 7-0 success despite appalling conditions in Hove. With near constant rain, and a pitch more suitable for mud-wrestling than rugby, the

RFUW Championship South

Hove 0 OA Saints 7

OA Saints recorded their fifth successive win this weekend by grinding out a 7-0 success despite appalling conditions in Hove.

With near constant rain, and a pitch more suitable for mud-wrestling than rugby, the clash against mid-table Hove was never going to be pretty. The Saints made an early charge for the try line with a 15 metre rolling maul off a strong line-out only for prop Nadia Brannon to be deemed held up over the line.

Pressure from the Saints was continuous throughout the first half with opportunities only passing by due to the pitch and weather conditions.

With a place at the top of the table to maintain, it was only a matter of time before the Saints scored as fly-half Tamsin Openshaw broke for the line to score the only try of the game under the posts.

A conversion from scrum-half Karina Page reinforced the Saint's lead while strong close range defence from hooker Hannah Clarke and lock Rachel German and some tactical kicking from outside centre Sarah McKenna meant that Hove were pinned back firmly in their own half before the break.

The mud bath continued in much the same vein after half-time, with the visitors untroubled by Hove's unimaginative, forward-dominated tactics.

Slippery conditions meant a succession of scrums and a much tighter game than is usually favoured by the Saints, who nonetheless mauled their way up the park, only to be held up over the line once more.

An interception from flanker Geri Thomas looked set to create a second score, but was well-defended by a desperate Hove and instead became yet another scrum.

With Saints' persistent counter-attacking and solid defence, Hove never looked like scoring and it was with a sense of relief that both teams heard the final whistle and retired to the clubhouse to thaw out.

Next week OA Saints face a return fixture against Saracens II - the only team to whom they have conceded a match this season.

OA Saints II had an equally frustrating and muddy game against local rivals Harlow, resulting in a 0-0 draw.


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