Category: Ladies Match Report

Ladies show the way again

With the games coming thick and fast the Ladies bounced back from last weeks “LESSON” to record a comfortable victory over Kilburn Cosmos to make it 2 out of 3

On what was a very Sunny but cold afternoon in North London we once again travelled with a squad of 21 with at least 3 or 4 regulars missing. This really is absolutely tremendous commitment

Unfortunately Kilburn are not in the same situation and despite some improved results in recent weeks they have been playing a 12 aside game and when we arrived only had 11 … we discussed lending players but they wanted to play with 12 so we did lend 1 Hazel … who it has to be said right from the start was magnificent all afternoon

Playing with 12 is a much more open game and you have to be mobile .. we talked about keeping our structure and playing like there was 15  aside .. as this will allow space to be created for  our wider players to exploit

We started well enough camped in Kilburns 22 but were all following the ball a bit and the structure I wanted wasn’t in place. However we did manage to force Kilburn on the defence and Eleanor who has been our rock defensively all season found some space to score in the corner  her first try of the season

From the restart we again forced Kilburn back and with Aimee running good ;lines and Irish joining the line from fullback we started to look a little more dangerous .. with the ball swinging back through good hands Cat off loaded to the joining Irish who had enough gas to go around and score her first try of the season to put us  10-0 up  fairly quickly .

We then lost our discipline for a bit and it became a midfield battle and Kilburn created a great move with great passing only to find that they had a couple of forwards needing to run the full length of the pitch .. they were caught and we managed to wrestle the ball back and with DAISY  , Fran and both Fays trying to punch some holes up the middle we tried to re-assert some control … Kilburn buoyed by their little bit of possession strung some phases together and suddenly looked threatening  with Stockwood looking a little leggy already .. they worked their way to the line with good offloading and support to score in the corner .. it looked like they may have been held up but in truth they deserved the score for a really good phase of play.

So Mr Grumpy here had a few words about structure … and from the re-start we never really looked back .. camping in Kilburns 22 we had several times Daisy was held up and with Fran and Amy coming on to really give us some punch .. Kilburn were already tiring … Cat found some space and went for the corner only to be hurled into touch but the tackle was very high and the ref awarded a penalty try … With Debs and Clare SL coming off for injuries albeit minor half time arrived with the score at   17 -5 ..

We changed a few personnel to get everybody a run and the second half started with a real purpose and possibly the try of the game went through all the backs hands and with Cat drawing the last 2 defenders off loaded to Ally who ran in to score .. although she nearly ran out of the end zone as it looked like she had forgotten to put the ball down ..for her first try of the season as well  and with Tracey now finding her range with the conversion at 24-5 .. Kilburns resistance was broken … with  further scores from Aimee who scored an excellent individual score from way out .. Fay 2 and Cat   we started to run away with it .. another conversion from Tracey and with the score at    41-5….. it was all done and with 10 minutes to go Kilburn had picked up a couple of injuries and only had 10 fit people on the pitch …. … What I love about the Ladies game is whilst its competitive its not always about the winning ..and neither side would benefit from the game continuing … Kilburn must be given credit for never giving up and fulfilling their fixture in the best way they can … we always receive a warm welcome and a hard but friendly game ….. a brief chat with the ref and Kilburn were happy to call time then and there.

So another win from the ever improving Ladies .. who apart from the first 10 minutes were excellent .. Aimee is really growing in confidence Irish had a stormer and several girls scored for the first time … all 21 played and without some of our more established players it was a really good run out.

Try Scorers …. Eleanor, Irish , Ally ,Aimee,Faye 2 and Cat ..with 2 Conversions from Tracey

Hazel was voted forward of the match for both sides  and Irish back …..

Next up Haringey…

League leaders best a defiant Park side

Sport has a happy knack of bringing you back down to earth and Stockwood Ladies experienced just such an experience this weekend.

With the runaway League Leaders, visiting the park with a previous score of 72-0 in the bag, this was another chance to see our development against a team that had brushed us aside previously  . Without a few of the regulars
this was also a chance for the finishers to make an impact.

We had discussed some tactical differences as Hackney have a fast back line and quick wingers so it was important to try and stop the ball getting wide.

From the start Park made a few phases and were looking good only to turn over the ball and knock on for a scum almost in the centre of the field. Hackneys no 8 picked the ball from the base and brushed aside a couple of park players to score under the posts after 2 mins.. with the conversion made not the start we were looking for .

With Hackneys confidence on the rise .. we certainly seemed to galvanise a bit for  the next 5 minutes with us pushing them back with a few phases and keeping the ball well ,then from their 22 somehow the ball is lost and they attack on the short side with some great covering tackles from Debs and Eleanor  ,Dara makes a great midfield tackle as Hackney swing back the other way for Irish to dump their winger into touch

From the ensuing lineout we are pushed backwards even though we have possession and Katie is forced to touch down herself for the 5 metre scrum.

Hackney keep the ball alive for a few minute but good Stockwood defence kept them at bay .. finally they manage to get that little bit of space and go wide .. for all thre world it looks like the girl was put into touch by Irish .. but the ref again can only give what he sees .as our Linesman had gone absent . and after 14 mins it was 12-0..

Again we had a couple of good phases into their 22 to only be caught on the blind from a scrum and the no 8  popped to their winger  who ran in from a long way out and went under the posts .. with the conversion made after 20 min its 19-0 and we now need to dig deep as every mistake we were making was ending in a score . simple I suppose stop making mistakes ..

For the next 10minutes we have possibly our best phase of the game picking and driving off loading before the tackle Daisy and Fran making good progress backed up by Dara and the Fayes spreading wide to the backs but we
couldn’t quite penetrate .. but Hackney were in their 22 and under a little bit of pressure .. once again we somehow cough the ball up and Hackney were very adept at moving the ball quickly the full back joined the line to slice through and run again all the way from their 22 to under the posts and with the conversion made on 30 mins  26-0..

Once again we then force them into their 22 for the remaining as it turns out 10 mins and keep them there whilst hitting their brick wall defence . unfortunately we lose Cath to  a twisted ankle and at half time it was 26-0

Now as I said previously we were 56-0 down last time we played so you cannot argue there is improvement.

With a few injuries and re-shuffle we are not quite as intense in the second half and it doesn’t help that less than 2 minutes in Hackney score again, like a carbon copy of the first half we get into their 22 put them under pressure make an error in the backs which was seized on and  again their speedy now inside centre runs all the way under the posts.

With another break off a scrum we defend by sucking in a bit which allows the ball to be moved for an overlap and another score  .. we are starting to fall away a bit and with a few harsh words we set for the re-start

For the remainder of the game we cant really get out of our own half and whilst defending resolutely .. didn’t do enough with our own possession on to make a difference and from a scrum the 8 went blind and had enough to carry herself over to score and with one final score right on the whistle it ended   53-0 . we never give up . .but something wasn’t quite right .. taking nothing away from Hackney who are well drilled and organised and thats the reason they are winning the league and we should look to play like they do ..

All in all its another improvement but a bit of  dent after last weeks euphoria .. Another game this Sunday .. need to count the walking wounded getup and go again

Aimee had a great match as did Faye 2 .. and Eleanor made her tackles as normal big thanks to  everybody for their efforts shame about the last score as a 40 odd point loss would have been a better reflection ..

Nice words from the Hackney Coach and Girls as they commented on our improvement .. remember this is only the 9th game as a teamin this league..lets not let the expectation run away .. keep working hard and it will come .

Ladies impress once again

So the Ladies of Stockwood Park returned to the field this Sunday with an away fixture at Harlow, one of the major strengths of the side this year has been the squad numbers and whilst its not always possible to get game time for everybody I wanted to start by thanking and congratulating the outstanding commitment that has been shown by this group . Once again with a few people unavailable with illness and or other commitments we still travelled with 20 .. This was the return fixture from earlier in the year where we had managed to win fairly comfortably at home but we are at their home and they had clearly improved looking at their recent results and the feeling was it would be a close game.Without our regular scrum half .. who is very much the glue of our side, Cat took up the reigns and with Chloe and Kristie making their first starts all was set for the start .

Harlow have recently moved and their new facilities are truly magnificent and despite the cold and the threat of snow the pitch was perfect .   We received first and the game started at a pace …Harlow started brightly and were getting to the breakdowns quicker and were securing more of the ball without really creating much .. a couple of moves out wide which were snuffed out by Eleanor and Ellen but we were not going forward enough ourselves. However from a lineout (which was excellent all day ..Cath and Tracey were right in sync) we managed to create a nice phase of play and with the ball going through hands to Ellen on the wing it looked for all money she was clear to score … with the Harlow girl just doing enough to put her off balance …slowed her just enough for the covering defence to catch her .

We then had a period of dominance where we looked like creating some space but never quite finding it to take advantage of the possession ..With the scrum solid and the Lineout operating well we had the ball but just couldn’t create the stand out opportunity.Harlow grew in confidence as the half went on and when started to move the ball out wide looked far more dangerous and on one occasion had the numbers wide and their winger finished a nice move to secure the first score of the day after 30 mins.
With a little more sustained pressure for the last few minutes of the half Harlow tried hard to score again but the Stockwood defence stood firm and it finished at 7-0 at halftime

The half-time discussion was around working harder .. I felt we were being a bit lazy and that whichever side stamped its authority on the game would win it .. I said if you want to win you need to go out and win it going through the motions wont be good enough.
We changed it about a bit with Ally Fay and Clare coming on and with the intention of not being quite so passive ..
The second half started with a similar vein to the first with a lot of the game taking place in midfield ..however the Stockwood girls had a far greater intensity .. with a few stoppages for injuries this was breaking the game up a bit. We then started to really dominate and get a lot of possession and after a 3 or phase attack Harlow managed to clear only for us to come straight back at them .. moving the ball wide we managed to get 2 or 3 meters from the line where from a ruck the ball spilled out and Cat “pounced” to score in the corner .

From here the belief surged into Stockwood and for the last 20 minutes of the game HARLOW could not get out of their 22 and when they did we would win the lineout and camp on again… Daisy , both Fays ,Kristie all driving hard for the line but keeping the ball alive .. in fairness to Harlow their defence was magnificent as they repelled attack after attack.. we even went out to Debs , Eleanor and Ellen and Harlow managed to scramble across and deny…

The penalty count was rising which becomes dangerous for the defending side as this can be seen as deliberate but I always felt that as long as we were patient it would come as long as we didn’t run out of time .. with a shout from the ref of last play .. it was now or never from the base of our scrum we feed the ball out quickly to Aimee at fly half she misjudges the ball a bit and fortunately knocked it backwards she however maintained her composure to scoop it up to Debs at inside centre who proceeded to run at the defence after going through 2 defenders and handing off a third she had some space outwide with Irish ,Eleanor and Ally all chasing in support surely this was the moment .. outpacing 2 more defenders she had only 1 more to beat and did this with some ease to dive over and score towards the corner .. the celebrations followed as the girls had found the desire and skill to get the job done .. you cannot coach these moments you have to live them , experience them to learn from them and they had done just that a truly magnificent effort capped off with a moment to treasure only surpassed this weekend by Jonny Sexton in Paris …

Final comments are a big thank you to the ref as he was very good all day ,very consistent and to Harlow who welcomed us warmly and who defended as if their lives depended on it and on another day may well just have won that game. The Park are marching on score 7-10.. Cat and Debs to score … Back of the match Aimee/ Debs .. great partnership… forward Kristie .. who once she got her breath back from the first half was a constant threat . next game home to Top of the League 18th Feb …come on you Park …



Another great performance improvement for the ladies

On an overcast but mild Sunday afternoon the Ladies of Stockwood entertained Hitchin in the return League Fixture of this current season
In the previous match the Ladies had a tough day going down by 50+ points even so this was an eagerly awaited contest as we felt we were better than the score line suggested last time and were determined to prove so.
Sporting the New shirts from the sponsor “Slip End Garages Ltd” and the match ball donated by ISUZU side of the garage celebrating the pickup firms active participation in Rugby Union there was a steely determination to match.
As the game started it was clear Stockwood were going to face up to the physicality of Hitchin who always come and give it 100% with an intensity of their own .What followed was a game that took place a lot of the time in middle of the park… with attack met by counter attack .. both sides were coughing up possession a little too easy.
Stockwood created a couple of opportunities that their stoic defence merited but with a lack of support and a bit of accuracy didn’t quite come off. The first 15 mins or so Stockwood had kept Hitchin at arms length and had created the better opportunities, on or about the 20 minute mark Hitchin put a good phase together and kept the ball alive and from a penalty about 15 yards out moved through hands to find their big powerful second row on the wing .. brushing aside a couple of challenges eventually she was bought down but could stretch for the line and scored in the corner. With the conversion being missed it was dust ourselves off take some confidence from the first 20 minutes as it was very competitive and see if we can be a bit more accurate with our own play.
The score galvanised Hitchin as they then had the lions share of the ball for the next 10 mins or so without really threatening the line … it really was a tough battle with both sides standing up to each other and not giving an inch .. With Stockwood under pressure thinking became a little clouded and on a couple of occasions panic meant we didn’t clear our lines properly and on 32 mins ,from a scrum 5 metres out Hitchin again found that little extra to score out wide … with the benefit of a video replay it appears there was a clear knock on prior to the score but at our level we don’t get that luxury and as half-time approached we were 10-0 down.
It felt a little unfair due to the efforts being put in but Hitchin had the experience necessary to get over the line .
We left everything as it was and started the second half much the same with thrust and counter … I felt we were turning the ball over a little to easy and when we did go forward we were a little isolated so would then be penalised for “holding on” a little too much ..We found ourselves defending a lot but again fairly comfortably both sides not letting up in intensity .. there were a few stoppages for injuries but nothing serious to worry about. 12 minutes in and there was a scrum awarded to Hitchin for what I wasn’t overly sure but Hitchin took advantage by switching play going through hands and with good support went over again in the corner to go 15-0 up .
We decided that we would give it a go for 10 mins and then try to ensure everybody got a run out we proceeded to attack and for 4-5 mins were metres away from scoring in fact Hitchin had to touch down behind the line themselves .. Whilst giving everything we just couldn’t create a clear enough opportunity to score and when a pass was intercepted Hitchin managed to ease the pressure and return it on us.
With the last 10 minutes being interrupted a bit with injuries it became a bit disjointed and with a final flourish Hitchin went over only to have the ball held up and then 2 minutes later created just enough to score in the corner ( right on the final whistle) .. interestingly the video shows again a little doubt as it appears she looked short of the line but as I said before the ref can only give it as he sees it.
The whistle blows for the end and a 20-0 loss and a tremendous amount of effort ..considering the intensity of the game both sides should be commended for their discipline and effort. For us we are developing nicely and as we play more games its clear we are learning fast … after this performance we do not need to fear anybody just try and be a little more accurate with what we do .
I haven’t mentioned any names because every single member of the 22 deserve a mention could not pick any one person out as stand out as it was a real team effort and this game is a brilliant base for us to push on to the next level .. I believe there will be some teams in the league who see the result and will raise an eyebrow ..
Wouldn’t want to Coach any other side …absolutely fantastic..

Ladies 26 – 12 Harringey

On a rather mild December afternoon Stockwood Ladies entertained Haringey in the latest instalment of the Ladies NC South (North 2) League
The last time we played we were put to the sword by an efficient team from Hackney and the visitors also come from this area with a squad of 19 so its all set for a tussle.

With a few absentees and a lot of the squad suffering from colds and flu it was great to see the numbers we had and the commitment to the cause.
We received at the start and went forward into contact and started a phase of 10 or so minutes where whilst having the upper hand we were trying too hard and making a few errors.
Our intensity and aggression were in the right place and we were certainly dominating possession without creating anything too clear cut.
We had a slight delay after 15 mins where Aimee had been trodden on and we changed it up a bit with Sophie going into Fly Half and Ellen coming on the wing .
We then settled a little and the continual go forward from Amy and Dara .. Daisy , Cath and Danni was providing plenty of possession we then put together a nice phase with the ball going through hands and Eleanor committed her defender and sent Ellen free and with nobody but the full back she showed a clean pair of heels to score under the posts .. her first and well deserved try of the season …
With Sophie taking responsibility for the conversions she was a bit unlucky going underneath the posts .. but better was to follow.
We continued to gain possession and this time went to the other wing where Cat showed another clean pair of heels cut inside to score her 3rd try of the season and with Sophie converting (which got the loudest cheer of the afternoon) we were 12-0 up and to be fair we were comfortable.
Haringey had rarely threatened but they came back at us and put together a good move with nice hands and got to within 5 mtrs of the line before they were stopped we had a bit of a scramble in defence and it looked like we had stopped her short of the line .. but the ref saw differently and awarded the try …
This was a pivotal part of the game .. how we would react would really see how far we have come and if I am honest it was the perfect response.

We continued to dominate possession and when Haringey did get the ball we were on them quickly … forcing errors and gifting up the ball … From a drive from Amy which gained 6 or 7 mtrs before she was slowed we found ourselves 5-6 mtrs from the line .. the forwards decided this was the time to all pile in and shove … and shove we did as Amy was forced over the line for her first try of the season.
Sophie continues with her new found converting technique to the delight of everybody. From the kick off we get a scrum .. we were dominant in this area all day … and sweep right to find Cat again who jinks her way to the line to score her second of the day and with Sophie completing a hatrick of conversions we end the half 26-5 up .

An almost complete half of Rugby in many ways … as we are a developing team with lots of new comers to the game we changed a few around to give everybody ago Lisa coming on at fullback , Chloe on the wing and Aimee returning to fly half .

We started as we finished the first half and looked to have scored when Katie had driven to the line after a sustained spell trying to get over … the Haringey girl was yellow carded after being warned several times for playing the ball on the floor .. the only quibble was the ball looked to be on the line ..which is a Try ..but we coughed up possession and Haringey got some relief .
The next 20 mins was a bit of an arm wrestle in the middle of the field and into the oppos half .. everybody working tirelessly .. Dara and Daisy making ground only to be thwarted by some stern defending. We had taken a few of the better players off to give them a rest and to continue experience with Claire Walsh making her debut.
The slight change gave Haringey an opportunity which they finished well and with the conversion being made the last 10 mins would prove interesting ..
We were clearly flagging a bit as the efforts of the day were taking their toll and the intensity dropped a bit .. Haringey sensed this and went for it .. the last 5 minutes was a constant attacking barrage on our line but we held firm and with Claire Walsh making try saving tackle and the rest of the team falling in behind there was no further score …. A great performance with a great result and a real desire to win shown which was truly awesome.

It is becoming hard to name a Woman of the Match as everybody is doing their bit which is so pleasing as it is a team game after all …
Special mention to Lisa ,Claire and Chloe for stepping up when needed and contributing .. Amy for a great game and Cat and Ellen for great wing play …
Dara got the forward of the match with some great driving runs setting the platform for things to follow, this is so important and Aimee the back of the match as she was right up for it all game

Finally Sophie apart from the first 5 minutes or so was pretty awesome and scored 3 out 4 kicks but her line speed was a joy to behold.

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Ladies undone by top of table Hackney

Hackney RFC 72 V Stockwood RFC 0

Whilst the score line would speak for itself in fact underneath the headline there is a great deal to be happy about .
Stockwood Ladies of 2017-2018 on a sunny day in August embarked on a new journey with a new coach and whole load of new players … and unless you know the history of the side you wouldn’t necessarily understand the huge improvement that is being seen. Sometimes devoid of structure, belief and numbers .. the one thing the girls have always had is a togetherness and a determination to enjoy themselves whatever happens.

This game was only the 5th time some of them have played a game and it was only the 5th they had played as a team …. What we did see was structure, a little belief and a squad of 20 … unfortunately a couple of the better players were unavailable but that just gives other people opportunity and experience .. which is what we need.

Hackney are top of the table and there is a reason for that .. pretty well drilled ..but the real ace up their sleeve was a winger of extreme fitness and pace ( to be honest should be playing at a much higher level than this ) and with a wide pitch took full advantage of her despite the best efforts of our never say die fullback Irish… who was heard to say (FFS) as the girl stepped inside her at pace to score the first try after 5-6 mins with a big grin on her face it has to be said. Hackney at every opportunity fed the ball to this girl and we even kicked it to her from the re-starts to add to the difficulties. She was so confident on many an occasion she would leave her wing and join in the opposite side as the extra person ..she had serious gas and it was too much for us.
However we won every one of our scrums and indeed pushed them back on their own a couple of times we made the gain line every time we took the ball into contact and our rucking was very good all day … Daisy made great strides giving us some go forward and the handling in the backs was good ..we just couldn’t break the line despite the best efforts of Debs , Sophie ,Aimee and Ellen … our 2 inexperienced wingers gave it everything (Chloe and Ally) but they would always struggle against a girl of this pace .
Dara ,Fran,Claire and Danni were working hard Tracey was everywhere and Faye and Cath always seemed to be the ones taking the ball into contact ..and setting it back I may add..
It wasn’t as if we didn’t have any of the ball .. just when they had it their line was so deep that they could always shift it out to old speedy on the wing.

At half time it was 53-0 and not particularly reflective of the rugby we were playing … but hey scoreboard doesn’t lie right?… We discussed the need to get closer to their back line to try and stop the ball getting out to the wing … with the oppo giving us no respite by not taking her off …. We started the second half brightly and defensively much better … being a little more aggressive with Alice and Kristie (making her debut this year) Shania coming on to have a go and get some game time under the belt. Having scored only a couple more tries midway through the second half the backs started to come up and then drift out and suddenly found themselves nearer to the oppo and started to put them under pressure and surprise surprise they started to panic a bit .. play became a bit broken and we were a match .. it was a shame we hadn’t done it earlier .. Sophie and DEBS were putting in some big hits and eventually managed to get hold of speedy right in the corner and knock her into touch .. with Katie and Aimee doing a pretty good job at organising and putting tackles in themselves .. it was a really good second half with the game finishing at 72-0 …. Only 20 points conceded in the 2nd half … massive improvement…

One of the oppositions spectators was heard to say that he thought our structure and gameplay was better than Hackneys because they were very one dimensional .. but when it works why would you be any different … for the record the other winger was a good player as well but not the destructive pace the other girl had … it would be interesting to see how it would be without her as she gives them a great deal of confidence …

Friendly team, nice hospitality and look forward to the return on our home patch next year …. We will be very different then .. that’s a promise

Forward of the match DAISY huge performance for the full game .. has the bruises to show for it
Back of the match SOPHIE big shoes to fill with Eleanor not playing and she was immense ….
Special mention this week for Cath … puts a huge amount of work in and as one of our more “experienced” players leads the way with her never say die attitude.

Well done Ladies .. two good games to come Haringey at home and Kilburn away …. Play like we have been and we have a shout ….

Ladies shine against Harlow

On a bright but breezy Sunday afternoon Stockwood Park Ladies RFC started the
4th instalment of their league campaign.

Having a regular squad of 23-25 the feeling has been that of steady improvement despite receiving some heavy defeats

Park started brightly and with the pack of Dara, Daisy ,Danni, Tracey ,Fran Cath and Faye getting around the field well and creating plenty of ball that Katie could
use quickly to free the Backs up … after a couple of probing darts from inside centre Debs the ball went through hands out to Cat on the wing who had
the gas and the space to put an early score on the board , totally deserved for the excellent play.

We had spoken about being too passive at the breakdown and Park were showing that they could be a match for anybody in this frame of mind.
A similar move repeated for an almost carbon copy of the first try 5 minutes later released Cat again to score her second and give Park a 10-0 lead ….further excellent teamwork kept Harlow at bay and indeed they never looked to threaten getting close but when they did were repelled by excellent defence.
With an excellent series of defensive drives Debs powered her way up the field to score a third try before the break to complete what was a fine half of team rugby with a deserved lead.
With Park able to use the large squad to freshen things up a bit we continued to dominate the second half although it took 20 mins before scoring again with the effervescent Fran
picking up from a ruck and powering through under the posts to score .

Harlow then put together their best phase of play to score a fine try from their free running full back who had been trying all afternoon to break through and finally found a gap on the wing to squeeze through and score.
This brilliant performance from Park was rounded up by another super break from Debs and great support play finishing in the hands of Danni to drive over the line for her first try for the club. On what was a brilliant day for the club 25-5 winners for the first time in this league represents a truly fantastic performance and signs of a team developing in the right way.

Debs was voted Back of the match .. clearly a thorn in Harlows side all afternoon and Danni was voted as forward of the match by rounding off her great all round performance with a try ..
Special mentions go to Daisy and Claire Slight for their performances so much better girls .. Eleanor for her consistent tackling (a lesson in technique for anybody) and Irish .. who as every game passes grows in stature … and I don’t believe she has missed a tackle yet … I want to mention everybody as the performance was really special .. Aimee and Sophie sharing the fly half role excellently and Cat for her 2 tries finished clinically … finally Cath, Fran, Dara and Faye ..who worked all game and played the full 80 mins ..very special ladies ….
Not forgetting Ellen who is always consistent .. Chloe , Alice ,Lisa ,Shania and Keera who are growing their experience never let you down.
Finally as a Coach sometimes it is hard to always ensure everybody gets the game time … Ally Harkin shows what Stockwood is all about .. I cannot thank you enough for your attitude yesterday and the rest of the team are truly grateful and you cannot buy that kind of commitment.
As you can see a very excited and happy Coach …. We have harder challenges to come but a special day for all involved …

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Ladies vs Hampstead

Having regrouped and counted the walking wounded our second home league fixture of the season found us again with a full squad .. this time 19 … I believe this to be a first for this group that we have been able to turn out these numbers regularly so theres a positive before we start .. and with the “development league” you get a point for a full squad .. so whatever happened today we would receive another 2pts but lets hope for more …

Without the regular scrum half or 10 we were in trouble really as Cat couldn’t arrive until 2pm on the dot .. so with Tracey at 9 and Ellen trying out at 10 we started a little bit disjointed.. Hamptead took advantage of this from the start and scored 3 tries really quickly which we were never to recover from … Whilst a few players were giving their all as a collective our intensity was a bit low and generally we were watching Hamptead play instead of competing with them. On occasions we started to play a bit and challenge Hampteads skill sets and when under pressure they started to fail a bit … again at the end of the half we were camped on their line and just couldn’t get the ball to the right place to score .,.. as with the previous week we are a bit passive when we don’t have the ball and teams at the moment are having success when they create multiple phases.
With Chloe , Lisa , Claire Sl, Chloe B and Claire Walsh all getting valuable game time its starts to create us some depth and with experience this will give us the strength as well.

Hampstead ran the ball well and were very good at keeping the ball “live” despite the intentions of Eleanor and Tracey , Faye Danni and Fran to stop them hard… Lisa who had never played more than 5-10 mins played a full half at fullback and showed a great understanding of the role and was unlucky on several occasions not to stop her attacker .#

Having got a bit frustrated with our intensity a few words behind the try line seemed to “wake” everybody up our pick and drive proving very successful as we moved our way up the field .. Dara and Daisy making ground being supported by Amy Danni , Fran and Shania, we kept moving and re-cycling the ball well to finally find Daisy to crash over the line and score a well deserved try …

Again perhaps the score was a little unflattering but there were some real good performances and we are growing as a team / squad of 25-26 regulars …be interesting to see what the reverse fixture brings …
Faye voted forward of the match
Eleanor voted back of the match

Special mention for Tracey who was fantastic out of position and Daisy for her first try …

Finally I would ask you all to start to believe in yourselves as I truly think this is holding us back a bit .

Overall its all great and you appear to be having a good time which is all that really matters

Ladies improved vs Hitchin

So on a sunny Sunday afternoon the Ladies had their first away game in the League with the short journey to Hitchin …
With a fabulous squad of 22 and plenty of support too there is no doubt we are gaining momentum with our Journey.

Wasn’t sure what to expect when the Ref announced before the game that he had sent 2 Coaches off this season already and that I should be aware that his daughter used to play at Hitchin albeit she was at Uni now… and as it transpired I needed to expect nothing as that is what we got ..(not that the result would have been different, but that is not the point)

Anyway … we started very brightly and for the first 10 minutes or so had a very even battle albeit in our own half … with Dara and Fran leading the contact and Katie and Aimee organising the team we look structured and generally held ourselves together well and defensively were sound. However we dropped our intensity a bit and this gave Hitchin a bit too much momentum allowing them to score after 15-20 mins or so ..
Hitchin play with a lot of aggression and intimidation and with very specific attempts at handing off on the face whilst not strictly against the laws are certainly on the edge of what is acceptable.
With Irish making her normal saving tackles .. Eleanor all over the pitch in defence we held ourselves together enough .. but started to pick up injuries and conceded a couple more scores quickly . We really need to compete more at the breakdown as we are allowing teams to have too much of the ball and by the 5th or 6th phase of an attack the opposition tend to be able to find some space .. albeit they have had to work for it.
We galvanised ourselves well and played for the last 15 mins or so of the half within 10 metres of their line … we put together lots of phases and found Hitchin committing penalties at the breakdown Amy ,Dara , Daisy ,Faye ,Tracey and Fran all working hard as we kept inching towards the line ..Debbie and Cath trying their utmost to get through and get the ball wide to Ellen or Ally to score .. Hitchin kept us at bay but through conceding 6 or 7 Penalties in what is known as the red zone .. for me this is either a Penalty Try or a Yellow card as they were deliberately fouling to stop the play/momentum and on 2 occasions this led to a break out by Hitchin to score ….. the second half had a very similar flow to it .. although by this time both Katie and Aimee were off injured with Cat doing the scrum half duties and Alice Lisa and Chloe… coming on to give it a go.. Shania playing in various different positions giving her all. Hitchin managed to score regularly but again we never give up and for the last 10 mins of the match found ourselves doing exactly what we had at the end of the first half but his time with 8 or 9 penalties to keep us at bay .. again we were not awarded anything for this and ended up scoreless and 53-0 result.
Personally I feel this not to be a fair reflection of the game perhaps a 39-15 would have been more indicative of how we had played. The last time we had played Hitchin we were on the end of a 93-0 scoreline so to have almost halved this shows a great improvement considering the intensity with which Hitchin play.

My last comment about this game is surrounding the ref …we accepted every decision as we should and showed him a large amount of respect as is the Rugby way …. But he refused to shake my hand at the end of the game and I find that unforgivable ..

Ladies go down to Marlow

This Sunday saw the Ladies of Stockwood Park begin their first major League campaign against the Ladies of Marlow .. who would no doubt be a well drilled side having had more experience and time together.
Buoyed by the last performance there was a lot of anticipation and having 16 available we already had a point before we started …. Unfortunately Marlow had only 12 so we had to play 12 aside.. .However with the subs situation we hoped it would help us as the game went on.
We started well with Aimee coming in at 10 and Sophie moving out to Inside Centre and with Eleanor and Ellen outside her this was as strong a back line as we could put out … with the space on the pitch this looked like an advantage, as the game went into 10 mins having had to defend for a period we finally managed to release the backs from our own 5 metre line what followed was a brilliant try with support and pace and no little skill with the ball changing hands 3 or 4 times for Aimee to finally touch down .. what was her first try in a match ….and what a fantastic start to the League Campaign ..

Marlow reacted strongly and had a very elusive 10 of their own who has obviously played a lot of Rugby and potentially at a higher level because she started pulling strings and running the game … Marlow attacked down the blind side and were thwarted a couple of times by super Trace .. playing at fullback for the first time … but eventually their possession told and equalised in the corner … It was here that we showed our lack of experience against their 10 who again attacked at the blind twice more to score and with one conversion and a further score on the other side the wind was taken out of our sails a bit. Really we should have been able to spot what they were going to do and counter –act it.
Eleanor was trying her hardest and her tackle count was mounting .. .we were a little disappointing in the forwards not reaching the levels of the previous game and getting over the ball quickly enough to give us the momentum and possession we changed it about a bit with Cath and Fay coming on and making a little bit of a difference .. Katie ended up being in the maul to often and Eleanor, because she was tackling ,so left the backline a little disjointed.

These things happen in the heat of battle .. and as we play more games this will happen less and less .. The second half we gave very little in attack and when we did have the opportunity we made poor choices and lost possession when a chance to score was there … with the unfortunate injury to Sophie putting a real dampner on the day .. and as of writing I don’t know how she is and I know we all wish her well and I would like to add how unfair these things are sometimes as she was becoming a very good player in a quick time .. I just hope it was nothing serious … I felt we lost our intensity a bit … nobody gave up everybody kept trying .. but we weren’t quick enough in line speed and a bit passive at the breakdown .. with the lineout misfiring as well we just couldn’t get enough possession to let Ellen and Eleanor attack as we know they can.
So first game is a loss but that is irrelevant we are progressing there are so many positives .. a squad of sufficient numbers with other players to come back , Amy ,Shania making solid debuts ..Eleanor, Sophie ,Aimee and Ellen showing real intent in attack .. Tracey playing a strange role for her and doing a great job .. Katie all over the game and organising as best she can Fran and Danii forming a good partnership .. Ally getting better every time she plays …. and solid performances from Cath and Fay off the bench …

The good news is you were all disappointed and that is a really good sign for the journey we are on … hold tight ladies it will come good in the end.

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