Guildford Rugby Club

Hasting’s hat-trick continues unbeaten run for league champions in 6 try victory over local rivals Farnham Women

Recently crowned NC1 South East league champions, Guildford Gazelles took on their local rivals Farnham Women in the final home game of the season.  Cheered on by a large home support bolstered by over 100 guests who had enjoyed a pre-match lunch to celebrate girls’ and womens’ rugby at Guildford and the success of the Gazelles. The Guildford team were welcomed onto the pitch by a guard of honour formed by the Grizzlies, who are Guildford’s U12, U14 girls teams with support from U7 and U10 girls.

On a sunny but windy afternoon, Guildford got the game underway playing towards Broadwater school.  They started the game positively, dominating the early scrums and putting the visitor’s defence under pressure early on.  The culmination of this good work was the first of Spencer Hastings tries with just over 5 minutes played.  The conversion was missed. (Guildford 5 – 0 Farnham).

Guildford had long periods where they put the Farnham line under pressure, but the black and white defensive line held firm. The Gazelles were not able to turn all their pressure into points, either because the final pass went to ground, or they were isolated and penalised at the breakdown for not releasing the ball.

Farnham had come to play rugby and when they had the ball, they were looking to move it wide to their quick players on the wing.  The Guildford defence was equal to the early onslaughts and managed to contain the Farnham attack and force the error to get the ball back.

The next score took a while to appear as Guildford couldn’t turn the pressure into points and Farnham were looking solid in defence.  It took a lot of hard work from the forwards to finally break through the Farnham defence to enable Hastings to crash over for her second try of the day.  The conversion was missed, (Guildford 10 – 0 Farnham) with the clock showing 30 minutes elapsed.

Farnham who hadn’t had much of the ball in the half, were getting back into the game and beginning to build a strong looking attack through several phases.  The Guildford defence was working hard;  Zoo Overton read the play well and stepped up to intercept the ball as it was being passed along the Farnham backline.  After making some good ground the defence caught up with her but a good offload in the tackle enabled the supporting Katie Davies to run in unopposed under the posts.  The conversion attempt from Carla Pullinger was good (Guildford 17 – 0 Farnham) after 33 minutes elapsed with some injury time to add.

To their great credit, Farnham were looking to spoil Guildford’s party and they did well to secure the ball from the kick off.  This enabled them to build another strong attack moving the ball from side to side.  Finally, we saw a glimpse of the capabilities out wide where the left winger managed to run outside the defence and score in the corner.  The conversion from close to the touchline was good.  (Guildford 17 – 7 Farnham)

This try gave Farnham a boost in confidence and they were beginning to show what a good side they are and how hard Guildford were going to have to work to maintain their unbeaten record.

The Guildford scrum was still a dominant force, and it was this solid platform in the middle of the pitch that enabled fly-half Helen Harris to pick her spot when she kicked through into space.  The Farnham defence didn’t deal with it well at all,  Olivia Thompson was the first to the bouncing ball and went around the outside of the defence.  When she was caught, she was able to offload to Katie Davies who was supporting as a good fullback should and she ran in for her second try and Guildford’s fourth giving them the bonus point.  The conversion was missed. (Guildford 22 – 7 Farnham).  The clock was showing over 50 minutes elapsed when the whistle went to end the half.

Due to what initially appeared to be serious injuries, play was stopped a couple of times so players from both sides could be treated.  Fortunately, the players involved managed to leave the pitch under their own steam, so we hope that their injuries are not too severe.

HT: Guildford 22 -7 Farnham

Farnham got the second half underway playing towards Broadwater school.  Guildford continued the way they had finished the first half by putting Farnham under pressure and driving hard through their forwards.  Some good work from Emma Swadlo created space for Spencer Hastings to run at pace into a gap in the Farnham defence and crash over close to the posts for her hat-trick with 10 minutes of the half played. Carla Pullinger’s conversion attempt was good. (Guildford 29 – 7 Farnham)

Farnham were not out of this game yet however.  Good work from forwards and backs resulted in a period of sustained pressure on the Guildford try line where they crashed over for a converted try. (Guildford 29 – 14 Farnham).

Farnham were building momentum and didn’t look like they were ready to throw in the towel.  A strong Guildford attack was thwarted by an interception by a Farnham prop just outside her own 22 who then showed a great turn of pace to run three-quarters of the length of the pitch to score an unconverted try with about 30 minutes on the clock.

The tension was building in the crowd wondering if Farnham were going to claw their way back into this game and steal it in the final minutes.  Guildford didn’t panic and worked hard at their gameplan.  From a scrum in the middle of the pitch, Guildford put the elements to good use and Helen Harris put a great kick deep into the Farnham 22 which went into touch on the 5m line.

Spencer Hastings was up first to disrupt the lineout ball, but it all got a bit scrappy and the referee adjudged that Guildford knocked on.  Guildford continued to put the Farnham scrum under pressure and even though Farnham won the ball and broke down the blind side, the Guildford defence was still looking to dominate and they managed to turn over the ball.  A great break from Becki Simmons drove the defence back, but she couldn’t offload the ball in the tackle, and we had another 5m defensive scrum for Farnham.

The Guildford scrummage was relentless and drove Farnham backwards drawing the penalty, which was taken quickly, with Izzy Newnes-Smith diving over for a converted try much to the relief of the Guildford crowd with less than 10 minutes left.  (Guildford 36 – 19 Farnham)

To Farnham’s great credit they were not done.  More pressure on the Guildford line was challenging the defence.  There were lots of tired players out on the pitch, but both sides were still giving their all.  Guildford started to give away several penalties under the pressure, including for a deliberate knock on which resulted in a yellow card for Spencer Hastings.  From the resulting penalty, Farnham moved the ball quickly across the field stretching the Guildford defence and making use of their numerical advantage to score a converted try in the corner. (Guildford 36 – 26 Farnham)

Shortly after the referee blew the whistle to end the game to the relief of the home supporters and the joy of the Guildford players.

This game was one of the best games seen on a Sunday at Broadwater and was a credit to the ability and determination of both sets of players.

The final Game for the Gazelles is away against Horsham Women on Sunday 14th April.

FT: Guildford 36 – 26 Farnham

Team: 1: Amy Cooke, 2: Boo Spicer, 3: Freya Hutchison, 4: Spencer Hastings, 5: Becki Simmons, 6: Isabella Newnes Smith, 7: Zoo Overton, 8: Emma Swadlo, 9: Gracie New-Brown, 10: Helen Harris, 11: Izzi Soriano, 12: Carla Pullinger, 13: Harmony Driver, 14: Olivia Thompson, 15: Katie Davies

Replacements: 16: Sarah Sanderson, 17: Lillian Knight, 18: Bella Davies, 19: Rosie Tugwell, 20: Elysia Oliver, 21: Millie Davies, 22: Olivia Davies

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