THE admirable ‘never-give-up attitude’ in GLR has seldom been more evident than at Havant where the side dug deep and hung on to take a bonus-point win in NC South East West One.
It is a result that puts GLR in third place behind the only two teams to beat them this season - London Welsh and Portsmouth Valkyries.
The final score does not lie as it was a battle from the first whistle to the last minute and the GLR players proudly wore their battle scars with honour on the return trip from Havant.
However, there were some very odd looks from fellow passengers particularly at the state of Kristine Vavere’s face after a big shift in the second row and putting her body (face) on the line in defence.
Also, it was great to see Heidi Mahy return to the starting XV in her tighthead role and she as always gives everything and was pivotal in the win.
From the outset Havant pressured Guernsey into making mistakes and they competed aggressively at the breakdown which put both scrum half Lucy Pratt and fly half Justeen Baker under pressure.
An added problem for the visitors was the pair of strong Havant centres who closed down the space and put in some bone-jarring tackles.
Havant scored first with an unconverted try, but Guernsey were not to be outdone and had several chances and created a lovely four on one which would have taken only a pass to have put Aimee Le Bachelet in for a try.
However, all credit to the Havant full back who put in a great tackle to snuff out the danger.
Changes to the front row saw Minna Gallienne and Laura Sweeney replace Heidi Mahy and Andrea Harris.
Sadly, Hannah Guilbert also had to leave the field for a time with a head wound, which brought Georgia Denziloe onto the wing and a quick reshuffle of the backline saw Sophie Ferbrache move to her preferred inside centre position.
Eventually, scoring machine Tanya Scholtz brought GLR back level and the half finished 5-5.
The second half started with the game being played in the same pace and vein, with nothing being given by either side.
Strong runs from centre Vicki Rang back rower Fiona Power and Jessica Melville increased the pressure on Havant which eventually told, and Laura Sweeney smashed her way over the try line to give Guernsey a 10-5 lead.
However, Havant hit back immediately with a converted try for a 12-10 advantage.
More personnel changes saw Hannah Guilbert return to the game as did Andrea Harris, the duo replacing Sophie and Minna.
The forwards were starting to get the upper hand in the scrums with Michelle Schofield taking several balls against the head and the forwards hard work on the new lineout moves were paying off.
This gave the backs some great ball and after a few well put together phases it led to a lovely inside pass to skipper Ellie Whittles that put her into the gap, just 20m from the Havant line with nobody between her and the line.
We still don’t know if it was agoraphobia or someone was playing the theme music from Chariots of Fire, but she seemed to go into slow motion.
But, thankfully, she has long arms and managed to ground the ball to give GLR a 15-12 lead.
Scholtz then got her second try of the day emulating Sweeney’s bash and crash move.
GLKR were now eight ahead but Havant just kept coming back again and again and only Lael Hollingworth’s brave tackles kept them down to one try.
Then came the decisive play of the day when all the hours of GLR training and coaching came to fruition.
The middle pod drove into the heart of the Havant defence drawing in the wings and then great recycling by the forwards saw the ball come down the line.
With GLR attacking at pace, great personal skills put the ball in the hands of Georgia Denziloe who touched it down for a bonus point try and a 25-17 lead and only a few minutes to go.
Havant were not done yet though.
As they had been doing all afternoon they found a gap on halfway and for the first and only time caught Lael Hollingsworth flat-footed.
They had a clear run to the line.
However, with the Havant player having a 20m head start, she was run down by Justeen Baker and Hannah Guilbert who brought her down just short of the line.
The GLR defence swarmed around the breakdown and it took Havant several efforts to eventually get over the line for a converted try which left them one point short at the final whistle.
This Sunday GLR are back in front of the Garenne Stand for a 1pm KO against Windsor Ladies who are at present fourth in the table, having beaten Rosslyn Park Ladies 40-0 last weekend.
Guernsey squad: Andrea Harris, Michelle Schofield, Heidi Mahy, Kristine Vavere, Ellie Whittles, Tanya Scholtz, Fiona Power, Jessica Melville; Lucy Pratt, Justeen Baker, Hannah Guilbert, Vicki Rang, Sophie Ferbrache, Aimee Le Bachelet, Lael Hollingworth.
Replacements: Minna Gallienne, Laura Sweeney, Georgia Denziloe.