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Dunstablians 1XV v Stockwood Park 1XV

Stockwood Park travelled to Dunstablians for the third time this season, the fourth match against them. This time the contest was in the Bedfordshire Vase competition.The game was played at a brisk pace with both sides creating chances.

First to score after just 7 minutes was Rob Jack the Stockwood full back following a good period of sustained possession. Conversion by Brandon Lewsey was successful. From the kick off Dunstablians applied a period of pressure with their forwards driving forward at the Stockwood defence, this resulted in a try in the corner on the 13th minute. Conversion missed.From this kick off it was Stockwood’s turn to apply pressure and following a lineout close to the Dunstable try line Stockwood prop Justin Harkin drove over for a try, again in the corner, this time the conversion was missed.

The game now ebbed and flowed with these evenly matched teams driving and tackling for all they were worth. The Stockwood scrum holding its own against a well drilled forward and scrum unit. On the 23rd minute Dunstablians scored a try after a close drive which was converted. The game then flowed again until almost half time but just before the break Stockwood left wing Luke Corsie broke free to score a try, this was converted by Brandon Lewsey.

Half Time Dunstablians 12 – 19 Stockwood Park

The second half saw more of the same intense rugby with neither side getting the upper hand in the early exchanges. After a period when Stockwood were resolute in defence Dunstablians were awarded a scrum which resulted in them scoring a try, conversion missed. Both sides were now tenacious in both attack and defence with no quarter being given. On the 37th minute of the second half Dunstablians were awarded a penalty in the Stockwood 22 which was converted into 3 points to give them the lead.

Despite coming under some intense pressure from Stockwood and a period of forward driving Park were unable to score and so Dunstablians deservedly go forward in the competition.

Next week Stockwood return to League action with an away match at St Neots.

 

Stockwood Park Ladies 1XV v Royston Ladies 1XV

With the 6 Nations starting and England’s men being put to the sword in France, once again it’s left to the Women to lead the way and with the Roses starting their 6 Nations with a positive win, it was time for the Huns to return to the field hoping to avenge a pre-Xmas defeat away at Royston.

It’s a true testament to the ladies that even with a few players unavailable or sick that once again a solid squad of 18 were available and ready to go. This has stood us in good stead this year and a positive result, albeit temporarily, would take us to the third spot on the table. Royston, holding 2nd place, must’ve felt a sense of De Ja Vu as we chased down them down once again to alter the league positionings. Royston are 2nd for a reason as they are well coached, tough to break down and hold a similar spirit to our own. This wasn’t going to be easy, especially with Lisa, Dara, Lee-Anne, Eleanor and Fresh unavailable.

Sophie and Hannah had made the trip from university, but we were struggling with filling inside centre. Whilst it not being ideal for the back row forward, Hannah stepped up and undertook the role at 12. T had to go at fullback, having never played there before, so whilst having a decent squad, there were some potential headaches. In our previous 3 meetings I have always felt that the forwards were evenly matched, but that we were slightly more physical that should give us the edge. The game started at a real pace and intensity which Royston clearly matched and whilst spending a lot of time in Royston’s half, we couldn’t finish the opportunities we created due to some off colour passing and the pressure Royston were exerting – albeit in defence.Royston’s tough 15 managed to create a couple of breaks but these were stopped dead by  T  with some immaculate positioning and fearless tackling.

The experiment with Hannah at 12 wasn’t quite working due to her instinct to take the contact which was resulting in a continued arm wrestle. The counter rucking was starting to prove fruitful as it was disrupting the flow for Royston with Daisy leading from the front and smashing girls out of the way. This led to the forwards’ competition being quite ferocious. Charli was doing a great job moving the ball and tackling their 9 and 10 to stop anything developing. We had talked about moving the ball wide and at last we started to do this; with some good wrap around play Chloe and Aimee combined to drive us forward only to be stopped 5 metres out.

Finally, with the ball having been half cleared, P drove into contact and the ball was won and set back for Shania who was on hand for the second phase. The ball was again won, and this time shifted out through hands to Sophie who had the space to get in the corner and give us the points the domination deserved. Making a change, Tracey and Hannah swapped and this clearly had a positive effect both at the breakdown (Hannah’s favorite area) and with Tracey able to ship the ball on – which made us function slightly better.

This score picked us up a bit and again we dominated possession and whilst not completely on it was posing a real threat to the try line with the forwards again making the ground. Abbie and Kristie were combining well and with the rest supporting, created the space again for Sophie. She had a bit more to do this time but cutting back inside cut through to score under the posts, with Aimee converting at 12-0 and 25 mins or so gone perhaps we could push on a bit.

However, Royston had other ideas. From a knock on, again at the KO, we had gifted Royston field position and for the next 5 mins or so they were knocking on the door. Excellent tackling from Tracey, Charlie, P and Daisy kept them at bay but they were close and continued to attack. With half-time approaching a penalty to Royston 5 meters out under the posts saw Royston’s tough fullback look to score. However, I don’t think she was expecting to be hammered backwards faster than she came forwards by Abbie and Kristie for a truly crunching tackle that stopped that attack dead and the half was done at 12-0.

With Cathy now on to give Shania a breather as she had something in her eye, it left just Kim to get a runout and for all to be used. We needed to be bright in the second half and to be fair we started well, and the counter rucking went up a level. We again spent the majority of the time in Royston’s half and with a lot of probing and keeping the ball moving Daisy got on the end of a move 5 meters out to crash over and score. At 17-0 perhaps now was the time to push on. However, Royston were not lying down, and with getting a bit of possession they pushed us back with the fullback driving them on. It became us who had the odd flurry into their half as with the wind behind, and ever so slightly downhill, Royston were keen to get on the board. Most of the second half was spent in midfield with possession changing hands and both sides thinking they had opportunities – 3 times Sophie was caught by her shirt more than anything else – and we just couldn’t finish them off.

With 10 minutes to go Royston finally had dominant field position and attacked with real gusto, but Stockwood’s defense was immense as on 2 occasions they were held up over the line for us to turn the ball over and clear our lines. We were stealing lineouts and pinching scrums; it was really very good. Daisy was making some crunching tackles and we were giving some penalties away in our eagerness to stop them. Finally, with 1-minute left, Royston managed the first real quality move – slinging it out wide and the never say die fullback had enough room to avoid T for once and although she was tackled, she was over the line to score. With the conversion missed, time was up, and the Huns had won a bruising encounter. The 17-5 score reflected the game in more ways than one – the right team won but it wasn’t easy.

That makes 4 on the bounce now and confidence is rising with the return fixture at Wellingborough being the next league game. The Huns have set themselves up well to finish the season with a real flourish.

For me it is becoming harder and harder to pick out players of the match. Aimee has really settled at fly half and is giving us great control, P is giving us a real go forward all the time and her tackling is great, Shania is just playing great… I could go on and on (like I do) about everybody. I would like to give a Coaches shout out to Abbie; a calming influence who is so consistent it almost becomes unnoticed – just so you know it isn’t.

T won back of the match with a sensational performance and Daisy was given forward of the match for her constant go forward and serious counter rucking – particularly mentioned by the ref. Kim won the ‘Gnome one like you’ award for being told she was going on and 5 minutes later was still taking off her tracksuit bottoms…

Next week sees a friendly at home against long-standing friends of the team, Kilburn Cosmos.

Leighton Buzzard Colts versus SPRFC Colts

What a difference a week makes! Sixteen players arrived at out hosts for the cup semi-final and by the state of the pitch we could tell the boys were in for a hard day at the office. If we thought there was a slope at Barnet last week the pitch today had an even greater slope.

Leighton Buzzard were a big, strong and well drilled team and Stockwood would have to bring their ‘A’ game to stand a chance. Leighton Buzzard, playing the first half downhill, started off strongly and this together with a number of handling errors and mistakes from Stockwood led to them running in two tries, one of which was converted, within the first 15 minutes.

I heard Leighton Buzzard shouting that ‘our boys heads were down’, little did they know about Stockwood’s fighting spirit. For the first time in the game our forwards actually put some pressure on the Leighton Buzzard defence and after a number of phases we found ourselves forming a ruck in our opponents 5 metres. A quick ball from Will to Mark, a combination that had worked so well last week, led to Stockwood scoring their first try which Jordan successfully converted to make the score 12 points to 7 in favour of Leighton Buzzard.

However, our hosts continued to put pressure on the Stockwood defence and the errors crept back into their game. Leighton Buzzard finished the half in the ascendancy running over two further tries, although they were starting to show signs of indiscipline and finished the half with 14 players on the pitch. The ref blew up for the end of the first half with our hosts winning by 22 points to 7.

The second half started and Stockwood started strongly and exposed Leighton Buzzard’s poor discipline. Whereas Stockwood’s first try was scored through the forwards the second was created by good play by the backs, a move that ended with Paulius receiving the ball on the halfway line and running past Leighton Buzzard’s defence to score the first of two tries between the posts. Kieran converted the try to narrow the score to 8 points.

Unfortunately, Stockwood were unable to capitalise on this momentum as the errors once again were to prove their downfall. The next score went to Leighton Buzzard as their forwards powered their way over the try line to make the score 29 points to 14, after a successful conversion. A moment of individual genius by Kieran as he chased down his own kick over the Leighton Buzzard’s defence to reduce the deficit to just 10 points.

As before Stockwood once again were unable to put their stamp on the game and Leighton Buzzard extended their lead by 12 points with two more tries and a conversion, although Steven is convinced he held one of their tries up!!
Although beaten, Stockwood had the last say of the game as Joe L broke through the Leighton Buzzard line and a superb offload led to Paulius scoring his second try of the game and Kieran getting his second conversion. This was to prove the final action of the day as the ref blew up for full time and a loss for Stockwood by 41 points to 26.

Although it was a disappointing result and I know the boys felt after the game that they hadn’t done themselves justice they shouldn’t beat themselves up too much. They once again proved that they have a never say die attitude but there were too many occasions when they set up good positions only to give the ball away cheaply to Leighton Buzzard.

Stockwood Park 1XV v Dunstablians 1XV

Despite periods of good handling in their backs and some elusive running from  Fullback, Rob Jack, who was a constant danger to the visitors, Park’s failure to come to terms with the superiority of Dunstablians forward Pack at scrum time, gave the visitors an advantage that they made full use of, particularly in the first half when they also had the elements in their favour.

Dunstablians led 21 – 5 at halftime but did not add to their score in the second half.  Park scored a good try at the end of the game and with a fine conversion from Fly Half Brandon Lewsey took the final score to 21-12 to the visitors.

Dunstablians were ahead within a few minutes of the start when Park conceded possession from the kick off, allowing Dunstablians to score and set the tone for the first half. Park responded with a sharply taken try of their own from Scrum Half Frank Daly before Dunstablians added two more converted tries to move to a 21-5 lead at halftime.

With the wind at their backs in the second half Park came more into the game but to many errors at crucial points spoiled their attacks and with the visitors in control in the scrums Park were always involved in an uphill struggle. Neither side added to their score until Park ‘s lock forward Jack Wharton drove over at the end of the game with Brandon Lewsey adding the extras.

Park remain in 4th place in the League with Dunstablians 5th.

Next Saturday Park play Dunstablians again, this time in the Bedfordshire Shield, completing what will be the third game in the last 4 weeks between the Clubs and the 4th game this season!

 

Meanwhile Park’s 2nd XV continued their successful run with a 21 – 3 victory over Dunstablians 2nd XV.

Barnet Elizabethans vs Colts

Today’s game was against a side we had played a number of times so we knew we were in for a tough day. Kick off was delayed for 40 minutes as Barnet only had one playable pitch and their under 16’s had a game before the Colts were let loose. A quick mention to Rob who made his debut for Stockwood today – what a baptism of fire!

Stockwood would play into the wind and attack slightly up hill in the first half. Barnet seemed to cope better with the delay than Stockwood as they dominated from the first minute. Barnet are a strong well drilled team and Stockwood had to show all of their defensive qualities as they frustrated the Barnet players for the first 10 minutes, culminating in a number of Stockwood players holding the ball up to prevent at least two tries. Barnet were eventually rewarded for the pressure when one of their forwards broke the line and slipped two tackles before scoring underneath the posts, a try that was duly converted to give our hosts an early 7 point lead.

Barnet continued to dominate the early exchanges as Stockwood struggled to make any impression on the game. Barnet added to their score shortly after as Stockwood once again gave possession to our hosts cheaply to go 14:0 up. Unfortunately. Barnet were not finished and a good passage of play between the Barnet backs on the right wing led to Barnet’s third try of the game.

A 19 point deficit seemed to wake the boys up and they started to compete for the ball, something they had failed to do for the first 25 minutes of the game. In fact, Stockwood scored a try with their first flurry into Barnet’s half as Jordan broke through the Barnet defensive line to score. Jordan then successfully converted his own try to reduce the deficit to 12 points. Stockwood continued to press Barnet’s lines for the final minutes of the first half before the referee blew for half time with Barnet leading by 19 points to 7.

The old cliché of “a game of two halves” would never be truer than today as Barnet started the second half off playing into the wind. The roles were totally reversed as it was Stockwood’s turn to dominate the early exchanges and after a sustained period of pressure and a quick offload from a ruck led to Mark scoring Stockwood’s second try of the afternoon. A try that was once again converted by Jordan to reduce the gap to a single score!

Both defences controlled the next passage of play with neither side managing to maintain any grip on the game. That was until Jordan once again broke away to score his second try and third conversion of the day to give Stockwood a narrow 21 to 19 points lead. A lead that Stockwood wouldn’t hold for very long as our hosts’ in one of the rare times they broke into Stockwood’s 22 scored their fourth try of the afternoon to give them a three point lead going into the last seven minutes.

Stockwood were not done and you could tell they believed they could win and was it not for a last ditch tap tackle Paulius would have surely scored as he broke down the left wing. Not deterred by this Stockwood continued to press the Barnet lines and after a sustained period of pressure were awarded a freekick within Barnet’s 22. The cries from the touchline was for Jordan to take the penalty and kick to level the score but he had other ideas as he ran at Barnet’s defence. A number of phases and some good defence by Barnet led to Stockwood having a ruck just under the posts on Barnet’s line and once again it was Mark who carried the ball over for what was to be the final score of the day.

After a couple of final phases and a break in play to deal with an injury to Eoin the ref blew the final whistle which meant from 19:0 down Stockwood had come back to win 26 points to 24 points.

I think I speak for all of the coaches and parents when I say how immensely proud we are of the whole team – the way they didn’t let their heads drop when they conceding 19 points unanswered and the fact we were playing a team that are third in division one of the Herts & Middx League.

Stockwood Park Ladies v Wellingborough Ladies

Normally the sun shines on the Huns, but this Sunday was a bit damp to say the least…

The ladies were hosting Wellingborough in the re-arranged fixture from before Christmas and were hoping to continue their excellent run of form. It was a bit disjointed at the start, with the opposition only having 10 players and 2 on the way – in this league you have to match at the start of a game so with 19 players it was going to be difficult to give everyone a proper run out. In fairness to Wellingborough, they made the long journey arriving with excellent spirit and commitment that can only be applauded. As much as we don’t like these small-sided games; it’s about playing rugby.

We started poorly as we knocked on from the kickoff and quickly found ourselves defending our 22. However, upon winning the ball back we were quickly upfield and putting Wellingborough under pressure. Eleanor was everywhere and the structure we had spoken about was trying to be implemented – albeit we were holding onto the ball a bit too long. The pressure was building, and we were moving the ball well, from 5 meters out Kristie came crashing through to score the first try and her first for us – who knew she could play 10s! From the re-start we were straight back into it and with her dancing feet it was Eleanor who avoided the tackles to score under the posts and with Aimee converting this one, it was 12-0 with not a lot of time gone.

It needs to be said though that we had to work for the openings because Wellingborough were spirited and not going to just lay down. After some more phases it was Cathy Edmunds who gazelle-like sprinted through a gap and looked to be odds on to score, however a decent covering tackle meant she needed to off load to the supporting Chloe. The pass was low and Chloe caught it but unfortunately tripped with the try line beckoning – fortunately she had the presence of mind to pop the ball to Charli in support for her to score her second try in as many games.  At 17-0 Wellingborough swapped to the players who had just arrived, after having a bit of decent possession they utilised a really good move which was finished by a rather speedy winger who made it  look very easy, with the conversion made it was 17-7 and interesting.

Unfortunately, Wellingborough had few subs and with a few getting hurt but continuing, our intensity started to prove to be too much. With Aimee taking a rest it was Tracey’s turn to get on the end of a good move and converting her own score meant it was 24-7 at half time.

The second half was a bit stop start but we started to express ourselves a bit and with Daisy pretty much driving everybody out of the way we had a lot of the ball. Lil got on the end of a great move to score her first try for the club and Eleanor’s quick feet got her her second try. With Aimee scoring and converting her own try (not wanting to be outdone by Tracey) we were out of sight. The ref rightly looked to finish the game 5 mins early and with P rounding off a decent performance with her first try for the club the whistle went.

At 46-7 it was decent run out for us, and we played some good supporting rugby. Shania showed some excellent touches; Charli was consistent again and Katie M got a good 15 mins for her first ever game. T and Kim also got a little bit more of a runout which is really helping the strength of the squad which is developing brilliantly. Finally, thanks to all the girls as it was difficult on Sunday for game time – 5 mins here 10 mins there – thank you all so much for your understanding.

Big thanks to Wellingborough as it can’t be easy.

Royston next week girls !

OWTP

 

Rushden & Higham 1st XV v Stockwood Park 1st XV

In a game of 67 points and 10 tries in which both teams collected try scoring bonus points, the final score did not reflect the fact that both teams had equal amounts of possession and both teams played some excellent attacking Rugby. The difference was that Park took all their chances, ruthlessly cashing in on home team errors with man of the match, Fly Half Brandon Lewsey, scoring a hat trick of tries and kicking 13 points to give him a total of 28 points for the game. Lewsey was aided by an excellent performance from Fullback Rob Jack who scored two well taken individual tries showing great pace to shatter the home team’s defence.   In the forwards, 2nd Row Phil Doherty was prominent throughout, winning good lineout ball and competing strongly in all phases.

Rushden took an early lead 5-0 before Lewsey began his scoring. Firstly, he kicked a penalty and then barged over for a try which he converted followed up by a sharply taken interception try, again converted, giving Park a 17-5 lead. Rob Jack then scored two excellent tris, one converted by Lewsey, with the home team scoring a try of their own to take the score to 29-10 to Park.  Next a mix up in the home team midfield gave Centre Alfie Daly an opportunity which he quickly turned into a further try for Park converted by Lewsey. A further interception try by Lewsey was matched by the home team who added two more tries to make the final score 43-24 to Park to conclude an entertaining game and a deserved victory for Park.

Park’s 2nd XV completed a comprehensive 83 – 0 victory over neighbours Luton RFC to maintain their successful season.

Stockwood  Park Ex Colts, Lock Forward Connor Underwood and Tight Head Prop Forward Sean Keegan,  both made their County debuts on Sunday for the East Midlands RU Under 20’s Fixture with Notts. Lincs and Derby Under 20’s in the National Under 20’s County Championship, played at Leighton Buzzard RFC. The East Midlands won 24-5 with Sean Keegan barging over for a try on his debut.   President of the East Midlands RU, Nick Powley, commented that “both players acquitted themselves well and made good contributions to the victory “.

Dunstablians 1XV v Stockwood Park 1XV

In a close and entertaining RFU Senior Vase Semi Final between two evenly matched local rivals, Stockwood Park, after holding a 15 – 7 lead with 10 minutes to go, finally succumbed to two late tries from Dunstablians, whose forwards generally had the edge in the scrums.

Both sides fought tenaciously to secure the victory with Park still refusing to accept defeat well into injury time as they played through over 20 phases of unbroken play, taking them from one end of the pitch to the other before finally conceding the match.

Dunstablians forwards soon set the tone in the scrums and they took the lead 7-0 with a converted try after 20 minutes before Park’s Centre, Alfie Daly, busy throughout the game, scored for Park to make the score 7-5.  Just before halftime, with Park playing their best rugby of the match, they took the lead with a well taken try by Fly Half Brandon Lewsey after forward pressure, which he also converted and then kicked a penalty to give Park a 15-7 lead at halftime.

Dunstablians came back into the game in the second half and with increasing pressure and despite some hard work in defence from Park, with Michael Powell and Skipper Tom Childs prominent, the home team scored twice to take a 19-15 lead.  Despite the full on attack from Park at the end, Dunstablians held on for a hard earned but deserved victory.

Next Saturday Park return to league action with a trip to Rushden and Higham RFC.

Another week and another revenge win away from home!

In the 2019/20 season, The Huns have reserved their best performances away from the park, and here it was again, against Cuffley. Cuffley appear to be playing some home games away from home, so it was a trip to Cheshunt RFC in leafy Hertfordshire for the return fixture in the league and the chance to reverse a 27-5 home loss earlier in the season.

Not getting into the changing room until 1.30, with a KO of 2.15 wasn’t ideal preparation, but the ladies were focused and what we did do in warmup was excellent. We always talk about looking at our surroundings and pitch conditions and today this was particularly relevant as we were playing on a grass pitch which genuinely sloped from one corner 45 degrees to the opposite corner. With a stiff breeze blowing straight down the slope, not even Edmund Hillary or Sherpa Tenzing fancied playing up the hill, but we decided if we won the toss to play uphill first, as the second half would be easier playing downhill. The plan came to fruition and although kicking off we were playing uphill, we felt that the first half performance would be key, especially with a top corner quagmire of standing water – refusing to flow downhill – truly the strangest pitch we’ve ever played on.

However, to say the start was disastrous was an understatement. We kick off and their no. 6 catches and runs dead straight at the on-rushing Huns. Hannah (you know I think you’re brilliant) unusually misses the tackle and suddenly leaves the on-rushing player with only Lisa to beat and running downhill, she had got some pace up. Lisa always make her tackle attempt, and this was no different, but with her size and pace (I think Elliot Daly would have struggled to stop her) Lisa is bounced and they scored under the posts. She converts her own try and after 30 seconds and with Mount Everest to climb, we are 7-0 down.

Without feeling sorry for ourselves, our reaction to this was excellent. We played with maturity and structure and started to force our way up field. The forwards were winning good ball and the backs were using it well to keep Cuffley going backwards. When we did lose the ball, our defence was good and for the next 10 mins we were in and around the Cuffley 22 probing. Cuffley were defending well and with a clearing kick managed to get themselves down to our 22 with the ball just rolling and rolling. This gave Cuffley a bit of momentum and it was now we needed to be strong. After a few attacks with Hannah, Abbie, Kristie and Daisy all standing firm and Charli, Fresh and Katie stopping the attacks when they went wide, Cuffley finally felt like they had scored only to be held up. Winning the scrum against the head, we exited well and eased the pressure of the last 5 minutes.

With Daisy making ground every time we had the ball and Kristie and P in support, we really started to push Cuffley back again. With wave after wave of attack from 5 metres out, Cuffley were standing firm. We managed to get the ball wide to Sophie who beats the defence to score in the corner, only for our own linesman to flag for a foot in touch. We win the lineout and return to our attack, by this time Aimee was off having had her hand stamped on, and we were down to 14 as we had to match the numbers of Cuffley. Tracey had returned for Aimee and this white line fever continued. We must have charged down attempted clearing kicks at least twice to keep the pressure on and finally, creating some phases which sucked Cuffley in, the ball was released through hands to the backs where Chloe has the overlap. She had to sprint uphill and with the defence closing in on her, she dived over to score under the posts – a tremendous roar goes up as this is her debut try and a real lesson in determination to keep going. Everybody, and I mean everybody linked with Stockwood Huns were over the moon for Chloe – shame her first team boyfriend decided to miss this one – bad from Kyran…

With the conversion missed it was 7-5 with a few minutes until half time. I cannot tell you what a great performance that first half was, whilst there is an element of fun in the description of the pitch, to come off at 7-5 was incredible. Nothing is won until the final whistle blows, but the opportunity to really put pressure on Cuffley was there if we could play in there 22. It would be hard, but our forwards were stronger and fitter. With Kristie being replaced by “Yorkshiiiire” Dara, Lee-Anne on for Cath and returning to 15-a-side allowing Shania to come on, we were left with Cathy, T and Kim looking to get some game time. The next 5 minutes were almost as incredulous as the first 30 seconds, the ref had been pretty good all day, but we got a few strange calls from the re-start – a knock-on that clearly went backwards and in the ensuing scrum, the second row helping the ball back with her hand. This wasn’t good and suddenly found ourselves defending our 5-metre line. Cuffley put some phases together and moved the ball well, keeping it alive and then going wide followed by an inside pass, they found the space to score. 5 minutes in and 12-5 to Cuffley.

The ladies are made of stern stuff and from the re-start we caught them in their own half and that’s where the rest of the game stayed apart from a couple of forays into our half, which were met with excellent kicks from the returning Aimee. Putting them back in their 22 with excellent kick chase, we were putting them under immense pressure, using our phases, we sucked in and moved the ball wide for Sophie, at long last, to get the space she needs to ease away and score just to the right of the posts. At 12-10 it’s a two-point game. With wave after wave of attacking intent, surely it was only a matter of time. It looked for all the world that quick hands had put Fresh in the corner at Base camp, only for the ref to blow for a very high tackle. The yellow card game with greater pressure, with us pushing them back and back. They tried to run the ball out of their own try line, but Charli was there to put Cuffley under pressure and instead of touching the ball down, she tried to pass – losing control allowing Charli to pounce and score her first try in the corner to put us in front – a thoroughly deserved try after an all-round excellent performance. At 12-15 there was still 10 minutes or so left to go, and by this time T and Cathy were on with Kim debuting a new position of second row.

Again, the hill was now at its strongest as Cuffley couldn’t really go anywhere and were being dominated by the Huns. Credit must go to them though, because at no point did they roll over and every score we got we had to work for. Finally, again the pressure told as phase play followed by some lovely hands and a late run by Fresh left the gap that she always finds and was through and scored to take us further out at 20-12 – it would be difficult to lose from here. Creating more space, Fresh was through again and for all the world looked like she had scored again but a great tackle stopped her. Falling awkwardly and twisting her ankle, this was the only real down on what ended in such a positive day. Still on the attack when the whistle blew, a really professional performance got all it deserved. Cuffley are a good side and not easy to beat which makes the results better.

There were some incredible performances, P was great, Abbie so consistent and Daisy playing like a captain. Katie was revelling in her new position, Dara and Kristie enforcing all over and the backs linking well together. The forward of the match went to Lee-Anne for coming on at half-time and making a real difference with getting her hands on the ball and always going forwards and looking after the ball. Back of the match could only go to one person; “shirts in or out” Chloe.

Finally, a big thanks to Hannah, Sophie and Eleanor; Stockwood girls to the core and you know why!

OWTP