Coming back after the Christmas break always brings mixed emotions for a rugby team. The overindulgence in festive delights combined with the wintery weather can be tough to overcome.
However, the teams at Streatham-Croydon have thrown themselves into the New Year with gusto, writes Millie Ross.
The men’s 1st XV have entered 2019 ready to defend their position in Surrey 2. After a change in coaching leadership at the start of the season and a few challenging injuries in important positions, they had only managed to pick up two league points before Christmas in the form of try bonus points.
Going into their first game of the year against Economicals they were looking for the win, however coach Matt Hawkes stressed that he wanted the team to focus on having fun and playing the new system.
It felt like the game had just begun when fly-half Jack Kelleway tackled the opposition number 13 in a huge collision which resulted in him enjoying the rest of the game from the side line.
This change resulted in inside centre Ben Cowell moving to number 10. Despite a brilliant try after a break by former player of the season Dan Witter was supported by Captain Adam ‘Barney’ Barnes who has returned from injury, and some exceptional defence, SCRFC failed to hold onto the lead and the full time score was 7-20.
Coach Matt Hawkes said: “I’m really impressed with the boys and how keen they are to learn and develop as players; they have started to implement a structure which is very positive. We are in a relegation dog fight but we are ready for the challenge.”
The ladies, however, have stormed into 2019 continuing last year’s form.
Their first game of the year saw them away to Barnes, in new grey away kit sponsored by Pratts and Payne Streatham.
They were dominant with possession and territory, and whilst ill-discipline in defence led them to having to demonstrate their notorious try line defence, they able to keep a clean sheet.
Having scored two early tries the ladies were targeting the bonus point, something which has been eluding them and keeping them further down the league table than the number of wins justified.
The bonus point try was secured with ten minutes left to play by a fantastic inside line run by flanker Helena ‘Ribena’ Solomon.
The ladies were in action again the following weekend with a home fixture against East London.
A team with a strong carrying pack, the Streatham defence was tested time and time again, but penetrated only twice.
Some incredible footwork and electric turn of pace by winger Amy ‘Baby Rhino’ Allen led to an incredible try that delighted the loyal supporters at Frant Road, leading to a full time score of 22-10, unfortunately just one try short of the bonus point.
The ladies sit third in the league currently and have some big games coming up. On Sunday January 27, the ladies development XV will travel to Hammersmith and Fulham to face their established 2nd team.
*The juniors and minis are also back training and they are recruiting players, especially girls aged five to17.
On January 27 and again in February the club will be hosting an Inner Warrior Girls Rugby Camp from 12-3pm, with England and Saracens rugby legend Marlie Packer and Saracens prop Hannah Duffy. Anyone interested should get in touch by emailing