By Carly Dudding
This was an important win for the Hawks, a game that they targeted for a while with the hope of climbing another place in the league table. They knew they had the ability to beat Cheltenham as it was a close game when the two sides met earlier in the season.
With a full strength side the Hawks started perfectly by retrieving their own kick. The forwards were carrying hard and making ground. With a penalty the home side kicked deep into the opposition 22. They secured the line out and after a few phases of play Henderson ran in untouched under the posts. Edwards converted 7-0.
They Hawks were full of determination and running hard with conviction made it difficult for Cheltenham to defend. The Hawks were playing a great off loading game getting in behind the opposition defence.
Cheltenham came back and worked their way into the Hawks 22, however the Home side defended vigilantly, big hits put in from Collins and Barrett. The Hawks were successful and did not allowed the away team over the line.
The Hawks were certainly winning the possession and territory battle and this paid off as Williams leading the backs, shifted the ball perfectly down the line for Moody to finish off in the corner. 12-0.
The half was not up yet and the Tigers came back at the hosts. This time the Hawks could not hold on and gave away a penalty allowing the quick thinking scrum half to tap and go and cross the whitewash. 12-7 at half time.
Cheltenham returned to the pitch running harder and with more conviction than the Hawks. They earned their way into the home side 22 and managed to hit hard runners making ground. Quick ball allowed the Tigers to cross the line and with a successful conversion took the lead for the first time. 12-14.
It was the Hawks who scored next with a crucial turnover from Henderson who had been pilfering all day. This gave the Hawks front foot ball and after phases and phases of strong carries from Wysocki-Jones and Matthews leading the way, Henderson was over the line for her second of the day. 17-14.
With around 10 mins left of the game the hawks had to play smartly to maintain the lead but the Tigers were not done yet, the dangerous no.8 made a fantastic run up the middle of the pitch leaving the Hawks defensive line for dust, however the pace of Wilkie to chase back and make a try-saving tackle just metres from the line was the highlight of the day.
The visitors were now attacking in the Hawks 22 but again the defence was too strong with fantastic line speed. Unfortunately the Hawks were too keen and gave away a penalty in kicking distance of the posts to draw the game. Luckily for the Hawks the attempt was wide but did force the drop out to give Cheltenham the possession again. Edwards kicked deep and it was Solowin’s turn to save the day with another crucial turnover, doing what she does best, allowed the home side to steal possession and give Davidson the opportunity to kick the ball dead to win the game. Full time 17-14.
Coaches player went to Ellis Collins for her high tackle count and work rate in attack.
Players player went to Laura Wilkie for fantastic defensive game and try saving tackle.
The Hawks have a week off next week but host Hove on 9th December for what will be another true battle on the pitch.
Match Photos courtesy of Steve Karpa;