Hackney Gladies kick-off their season with victory

Campbell brace plus tries from Miller, Auer, Doig and Bintoh secure 36-25 win against Stanford Le Hope

The Hackney Gladies kicked their season off with a hard-fought win over Stanford Le Hope at Springhill on Saturday. It wasn’t a vintage performance, but cobwebs were shaken free and by the final whistle the positives certainly outweighed the negatives, not least the performances of the newest Gladies.

As the game kicked off, it seemed all-but-one of the Gladies were still enjoying their summer holiday.

Unfortunately, that one Glady was captain Emma Middleton who had pulled on a Stanford shirt to ensure the game could include contested scrums. Middleton made a great break down the blind, and despite being hauled down by some determined team-mates, she popped up again at the next phase to touch down in the corner.

For the next 10 minutes, it was one-way traffic as the travelling team continued to launch attack after attack and racked up a 15-point lead. With the Gladies in disarray it looked like being a long re-introduction to the game.

The dramatic turnaround was started by scrum half Charley Miller, with a huge tackle on Stanford’s biggest player. Miller’s example was followed by her team-mates, not least Amy Hague and Charis Gambrill.

On the front foot, Hackney looked a different team, and when their defence forced Stanford to cough up the ball the game took on a different complexion.

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First Felicity Auer touched down after a series of drives up the field by the Gladies pack, then Miller added another with a strong blindside break of her own.

By half time, the home side were within a score, and shortly after they were ahead when fly half Sophie Campbell raced away.

Playing with confidence, against a tiring Stanford side, Hackney made sure of the result in the last quarter. Substitute centre Helen Doig raced onto a well-timed pass from fly half Sophie Campbell to show just how much she has improved over the summer.

Tessie Bintoh came on out of position on the wing and added a try on her debut, and then Campbell scored again.

By the final whistle Hackney were in control and looking like an exciting, dangerous team.

Gladies: Sam Shirley, Charis Gambrill, Astrid Bjorvig, Sarah Lawrence, Juliet Chipperfield, Fiona Booth, Flic Auer, Kate Richardson, Charley Miller, Sophie Campbell, Amy Hague, Lydia Meeson, Gen Barr, Kate Pierpoint, Helen Doig, Kate Middleton, Anna Sereni, Tessie Bintoh.