Saints agonisingly close to their first Premiership win
OA Saints 19
Darlington Mowden Park 22
OA SAINTS’ first home Premiership game, and the ‘Old Girls’ had arranged a supporters lunch so the Saints kicked off watched by a huge home crowd.
The Saints had learnt a lot from their first premiership encounter last week and set the pace taking the game to Darlington. This paid off with the forwards punching over the gain line making ground and lock Angela Wadham making the final five yard drive over the line. Five minutes in and five points up.
The next 35 minutes was a battle for ground and massive defence effort from both teams. Darlington missing a penalty late on in the half keeping the score tight at the break.
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The second half kicked off in much the same vein until the Saints lost a prop to the sin bin.
Darlington capitalised on having an extra man with their prop crashing over with England full back Katy McLean kicking the extras with ease.
The Saints struck back instantly from the restart with an excellent line cut through the defence by centre Simon Shepherd off of Saints seven-man scrum having nicked the ball against the head and Shepherd was under the sticks, Sarah McKenna’s boot adding the extras.
The Saints’ binned player returning to the field only for Saints replacement lock to follow her for a 10min rest leaving the Saints a forward down for a further 10.
OA’s did their best to prevent the overlap resulting in a score but finally the pressure told and DMP full back was over the line for a try shortly followed by their outside centre adding her name to the score sheet giving Darlington the lead 12-19.
The Saints were down but not out and strong running from forwards Leah Carey and Lol Kenny had the Saints camped in DMP 22. Saints centre Karina Page attacked down the blindside drawing the last man in defence and a perfectly timed off load to winger Claire McKenna sprinting in to score out on the touch line.
At 17-19 the silence from the crowd was defining as Sarah McKenna stepped up for the conversion and slotted it over to rapturous roars from the home crowd. 19-19 with four minutes remaining and looking like a draw.
Desperate attempts from both teams ensued with the touch judge calling play back for a penalty for a late tackle on a Darlington player, in the 22, out on the wing, last play of the game.
England’s Katy McLean does not miss from inside the 22 and snatched the win for DMP leaving the premiership newcomers and the home crowd hugely disappointed as the final whistle blew, 19-22.
Saints are back in action, looking for that first win against Worcester away on Sunday, October 17.
Saints (1-15): Chandler, Brannon, Brinsley, Knighton (Kenny 40), Wadham, Botterman, Rees (Thomas 60), Carey(C), Saint-Smith (Cameron 75), S McKenna, Barnes, Shepherd, Page, C McKenna, King