Streatham-Croydon RFC’s senior sides have been working hard in the heat this summer to get fitness levels high in advance of the season starting.
The men’s team, training on Tooting Bec Common, have been active in their recruitment and having dropped down to Surrey 3 this year are ready to take on the challenge of new teams and hopefully get some early wins under their belt, writes Millie Ross.
The first game of pre-season, saw Streatham welcome a touring team from Long Beach State California and with only four weeks of training completed, the game was structured by 20 minute thirds, with both teams bringing large squads with plenty of subs.
SCRFC started the game strongly implementing the game plan set by coach Matt Hawkes perfectly.
New fly half Joe West was reading the game well and used our forwards effectively. Some nice offloads from captain Adam Barnes, James Benyon and Freddy Green sent Angus Mainland through for the first try of the game after a nice finish from the opponents 22.
The structure began to break down slightly with rolling substitutions, and Streatham’s admirable defence was eventually broken down after Long Beach went wide after some sustained pressure on our line to go in under the posts.
In a moment of individual brilliance, Ibrahim Campbell reminded everyone how impactful he can be. Reading the game beautifully from the wing, he took an interception on the halfway line and sprinted under the posts to put Streatham in front.
Some more excellent defence followed, with the fringes of the ruck being defended well by forwards. The outside channels were well managed to by a new centre combination now including former prop Charlie Pattihis, marshalling the outside backs well.
Unfortunately Long Beach broke the line a couple more times to put them ahead,
and secure the victory 21 to 14.
For the first game of preseason against a team nearing the end of their season, Streatham will be filled with optimism for the year ahead. With new boys Craig Metcalfe, Joe West, Alex Buck, Pat Coffey, Jack Hardwick looking good, there are plenty of reasons to be excited.
The ladies team, whose league starts on the September 8 with a home game against Southampton, have also been recruiting hard throughout the summer.
The first preseason game, with 4 Streatham debuts, against old rivals Beckenham saw a narrow 12-10 loss on a hot Thursday evening in August. The ladies then travelled in 32 degree heat on the August BankHoliday to Sutton & Epsom, where they suffered a late defeat against a strong mixed 1st and 2nd team against the recently promoted side.
Some newer players have made a significant impact for the ladies side and they will only improve as they integrate further into the team. Katherine Maynard, formerly of Richmond Ladies, has slotted in well pulling the strings at scrum half; and Alayna Hunte, whose family have represented Streatham at many levels for years, has returned from a spell away at university in Loughborough to delight the team with her strong carrying, impressive defence, and ability to know her way to the try line. The ladies have a final preseason fixture against Windsor Dames on 1st September 1and then they will be preparing for their league season the following week.