Hitchin Ladies 55-5 Hampstead: Hedgehogs start season with convincing home victory

PUBLISHED: 20:06 10 September 2018 | UPDATED: 20:06 10 September 2018

Hitchin Ladies First XV 2018/19. Picture: Dan Mountney

Hitchin Ladies First XV 2018/19. Picture: Dan Mountney

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Hitchin Ladies First XV made the perfect start to the new season with a resounding 55-5 win over Hampstead at Hitchin Rugby Club yesterday afternoon.

The Hitchin Ladies First XV in their pre-match huddle. Picture: Dan MountneyThe Hitchin Ladies First XV in their pre-match huddle. Picture: Dan Mountney

Katie Allerton scored twice on her debut for the senior team, either side of Hampstead’s only try, to give the Hedgehogs an early lead, before captain Emma Cramphorn and Louise Crombie crossed over the line to cement a deserved 24-5 half-time advantage.

A penalty try as well as second-half scores from Jade Cooper, Amy Haughton and a Suzie Gajda-Hilton brace wrapped up the game for Hitchin.

Wearing their new kit for the 2018/19 season – unveiled in a team photoshoot before kick-off – Hitchin made the best possible start to the campaign with just a few minutes on the clock.

After powerful running and two quick off loads from Haughton and Cramphorn, debutant Allerton found the gap in the Hampstead defence to score the games first try for a 5-0 lead.

Hitchin and Hampstead battle it out in the scrum. Picture: Dan MountneyHitchin and Hampstead battle it out in the scrum. Picture: Dan Mountney

The away side tried to force their way into the game after the early setback but were met with some strong and resolute Hitchin defending.

However, Hampstead finally broke through with some determined running down the left wing to draw themselves level.

It didn’t stay that way for long though.

Quick thinking from Casey Burgess to tap and go saw the ball move right, passing between a number of Hitchin hands before new girl Allerton scored again, with Charley Hamilton successfully converting for a 12-5 lead.

Hitchin and Hampstead compete for a lineout. Picture: Dan MountneyHitchin and Hampstead compete for a lineout. Picture: Dan Mountney

Fast passing and good hands gave way to persistence and determination for the Hedgehogs next try, as they battled down the right wing allowing Cramphorn to increase the lead to 17-5.

Crombie then got her try after finding a good line and Gajda-Hilton kicked the conversion to give the home side a 24-5 half-time lead.

The second period continued in much the same vein as the first, with Hitchin’s clever use of the ball and smart handling cutting Hampstead open again.

Cooper showed a clean pair of heels to escape a couple of challenges and score – despite being barrelled over by a strong tackle as she crossed the line – to widen the lead to 29-5.

The gulf increased further when the Hedgehogs punished some sloppy handling from the away side to score a penalty before Gadja-Hilton powered through two tackles for a try to make it 41-5.

The pace of Haughton saw her run almost half the field unopposed and score under the posts, kicking the conversion herself for 48-5, before Gadja-Hilton scored the games final try, with Allerton converting successfully for the last action of the match, securing a convincing 55-5 win for Hitchin.

Skipper Cramphorn was delighted, telling CometSport: “All of the girls came out and did exactly what was asked of them and more.

“We kept our heads calm and we didn’t take our foot off the gas once we got a little bit ahead.

“We knew that we came here with a job to do and the result showed that.”

The Hedgehogs will be hoping to make it two wins from two when they travel to Stockwood Park this Sunday.

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