Hove Girls hold heads high after tough day at the office
Great levels of commitment from inexperienced team
Rugby can be cruel: there are times when all your effort and commitment comes to nothing and you’re faced with a scoreline that doesn’t fairly reflect on the quality of play. That was certainly the case here – Hove’s determination against a very experienced and well organised Pulborough team got scant reward.
For once, Hove didn’t concede straight from the kick-off and even made some of the early breaks, but once Pulborough scored, when our girls failed to get their tackles in, there was an air of resignation over our players. And it wasn’t long before the floodgates opened – the teams going in at half-time with Hove 41 -0 down.
To their credit, even as the tries rained in, they kept trying and looked to use some of the running moves they’d been practising. We’d had chances: Saige, Mia, Vicky and Lara all broke through but some excellent tackling from Pulborough ensured that our attacks petered out.
There was plenty of hard work from the forwards, great tackling, particularly from Rose, Leonor and Cluny, helped ensure that Pulborough didn’t have it all their own way. And there were a couple of effective pieces of ripping from Lara, ensuring that Pulborough efforts to set up a maul came to nothing.
In the cold light of day, it looks like a humiliation but there were periods where Hove genuinely competed. The real problem was that nearly every time that Pulborough got into the Hove 22, they scored - it’s ‘nearly’ because a couple of great last ditch tackles from Zoe and Hannah had Pulborough spilling the ball on the line. It was a demonstration that, despite the scoreline, Hove were still putting in the hard yards when it would have been easy to give up.
It was a different story when Hove attacked. On the few occasions when we did get into their 22, we couldn’t commit the players to support the runners. In the last five minutes alone, breaks from Rose, Vicky and Leonor fizzled out when Hove failed to supply the numbers to support. It was in sharp contrast to Pulborough, who always seemed to have someone on the shoulder of a runner.
Pulborough were also quick to commit players to the breakdown and Hove frequently found themselves out-rucked. Our girls also struggled in the scrums, although that was to be expected against a well-drilled, highly experienced forward unit like Pulborough’s pack. It made life difficult for scrum-halves, Lana and Alice, who were left to feed on scraps, but never stopped looking for the inventive pass.
We gave debuts to two girls: Samala and Martha, who have only been with us for a few weeks and experienced their first game of rugby. It was a tough baptism of fire for them but Samala managed to show a bit of her pace, while Martha did get a tackle in – they’ll have more comfortable games.
The Pulborough coach afterwards put the result into perspective – the bulk of their team has been together for three years (and longer), with many games under their belts. The Hove team has been together for just over a year: seven members of the squad have been playing for just a few months. It’s to their great credit that the team kept going, kept running and kept putting the tackles in. They have the right attitude and it’s an attitude that will stand them in good stead in games to come.