Hampstead 2’s 0 Amazons 47 – Report by Ian Girling
The Woodbridge Amazons kicked off their season in fine style on Sunday playing the newly promoted Hampstead Heath second XV at Hendon RFC.
The performance was so polished it positively gleamed in the glorious London sunshine! There was no sign of first game nerves as the travellers, including three new players, began well. Tremendous aggressive defending set the tone early as Woodbridge drove back early Hampstead possession. The strong start was soon capitalised on when the ball was worked out to winger Anna Dewberry who touched down for the first try of the match.
Despite conceding a weight disadvantage, the Amazons pack worked their socks off and as the half continued, an excellent balance of sheer power from the likes of Sarah Simms, along with the tenacity of Libby Stopard meant quality ball for scrum half Morven McAlpine constantly. It was Stopard that scored next, her first ever try after some determined running inside the 22.
Woodbridge were the more organised of the two sides, with skipper Claire Brickley leading superbly from her pivotal fly half position. It was from more quality possession that she stretched her legs to outpace the hosts defenders for try number three. With the forwards out working their opposite number, the Woodbridge backs began to cut loose as more and more ball was spread wide.
The centre pairing of Jess Delaney, playing in her last match before going to Loughborough University, and Rhian Claydon was an absolute triumph as both youngsters cut fine running lines, linking well with forwards inside them, and wingers out wider. Delaney dived over the try line for the fourth and final try of a top drawer first half. 24-0.
Despite the heat, the Woodbridge play warmed up even more in the second half and at times the action looked good enough to grace the Allianz Park (home of the Saracens rugby club) pitch right next door! The backs ran riot in the second period as Dewberry bulled her way through four or five tacklers for her second try. The captain was the second to grab a brace, then Delaney, both from distance as the hosts faded, before Dewberry claimed her hattrick, again finishing off a flowing move that involved both forwards and backs.
This was a terrific performance, both in defence and attack, as signified by the final 47-0 score line. The organisation, together with plenty of heart and sweat, bodes very well for the upcoming season and it’s fair to say Woodbridge have started with a bang, sending out a resounding message to the rest of the league.
Well done indeed!