Category: Ladies Match Report

Game on game improvement from the ladies

On what proved to be a rather Warm Sunday afternoon Stockwood Ladies entertained Hitchin on the first home league game of the season , with none of the local teams having Ladies Rugby Hitchin is pretty well a local Derby ..
We have never beaten Hitchin as over the years they have had an established Ladies team and good numbers and good coaching .. we are in the second year of our Journey with a New Coach and we are learning with every game ..

With some of our more established squad away or indisposed it was a chance for some of the younger members of the squad to put their hands up …and put their hands up they did…

We had talked about last week’s rustiness and that the second half was ok but this week we couldn’t afford a slow start .. especially as Hitchin hammered last year’s runners up by 50 pts the previous week.
We talked about asserting ourselves individually and therefore collectively taking responsibility for our own performance and not coming off the field at the end feeling .” I could have done better”

We started very well , on the front foot and Hitchin couldn’t get out of their half .. the forwards were retaining the ball well and even when we lost possession Amy and Abbie ( the terrible twosome) would stop Hitchin and often turn the ball back over. With Hannah Thomas belying her tender age of 17/18 with her real intensity and the returning Kristie having a real impact , Hitchin were put on the back foot … The game was becoming a real tussle but both teams were trying to play rugby and get the backs involved whenever they could … Stockwoods New backline of Tracey , Cat ,Pariese and Ellen on one wing Chloe on the other ..were up fast and making their tackles .. I don’t think there was a clear line break by either side in the first half which shows how evenly matched the teams were .. the last fifteen of the half where some changes had been made by both sides due to the sheer physical intensity of the game , was played more in Stockwoods half but the defensive structure was awesome with the girls working for each other and defending on the front foot and when Hitchin did finally break the line out wide .. Annie was there to crash their winger into touch as she was about to score … Hitchin have a big second row and she is very adept at keeping herself moving .. we had been double teaming her and stopping her in her tracks .. when she finally did get some momentum and crashed over Amy had made sure she was underneath her and held her up …
Finally turning the ball over Tracey cleared to touch and relieved the pressure .. and the half was up .. 0-0 and a very entertaining game played in a great spirit and with 2 focussed teams not letting up … Dara (Yorkshiiiire ) Cath ,Kristie, Leeanne, Amy, Hannah, Ally , Daisy and Abbie had been a magnificent unit and with Tracey , Cat and the rest of the backs looking good also … Katie making loads of tackles leading from the front as a Captain should .. it was really a very good half of Rugby

Second half was always going to be difficult with the effort that had been put in but the rotation and squad numbers always allowed for a bit of a breather .. not forgetting Hitchin who had worked hard also … however they pounced on an early mistake to put some pressure on us but like in the first half were met generally with a brick wall , the big second row finally managed to get a small break and although she was tackled managed to stretch and get the ball down … with the conversion missed the way the game was going this might have been the only score .. swapping a few things around again due to some minor injuries that need attending Hitchin took advantage of this and scored again this time the conversion was made …. With about ten minutes to go clearly Hitchin were starting to flag and after a great tackle at the stand in fullback Catherine .. we started to create some gaps with Pariese breaking through and driving into Hitchens half we looked like we might have time to get back into this .. with 5 mins to go Pariese again made a clean break and was through with only yds. to go she was caught .. but if she had dived forward I am sure she would have scored … but maintained possession and set it back for the support that was there only for Hitchin to dive over the ball .. ref allowed it unfortunately which gave them chance to clear .. we were knocking on the door now and with Daisy and Katie and most of the others going for it …couldn’t quite open it .. we moved the ball wide and with the overlap it looked sure Ellen would score but the pass was high and she had to stretch a bit which unfortunately meant she couldn’t gather it and with that the whistle blew for the end ….

We always look for indicators for improvement and Hitchin are a good barometer as the last scores have been 90-0 55-0 25-0 and now 12-0 and we should have scored at least once shows how far we have come as a side .. with 30+ signed on and some friendlies being booked Ladies Rugby at Stockwood is in a good place … now it’s starting to be good on the field as well ….. Abbie was my player of the match ..simply everywhere and Pariese and Sophie have shown us a glimpse of the future … and wow its exciting ….
Finally I can’t let the game go without a mention for Cathy Edmonds .. one of our older members but you wouldn’t know it the effort she puts in .. always gives 100% or more she truly is a terrific role model and we would really miss her is she is not around … look at Cath girls ..do half of what she does and we will be in a great position ….

Tabard vs Stockwood Park Ladies

So after all the pre –season training the first League game arrives with a trip to Tabard ,a team historically well coached but a team we have never played ..
Once again the Stockwood Squad was strong and large with the full 22 and some watching … this in this league will always stand us in good stead due to the awarding of a point for a full squad even if you lose.
Whilst pre-season having not been perfect in as much as we couldn’t get any game time prior to today , everything else had been excellent so we arrived in good shape … and warmed up really well and appeared focused.

We had to lend Tabard 2 girls Lee-Anne and Pariese two of our newer recruits but important for them both to experience a game so this was a good opportunity.

The pitch was hard and wide .. but we had some gas out wide so hopefully we could use that to some good effect…
The game started with a hard hit from Hazel .. but in terms of aggression that was one of a few in the early stages of the game .. we looked rusty and a little slow , the scrum wasn’t functioning but the girls identified the issue themselves and after 15 mins or so had sorted that out …. The game was very even for this time but we were a little narrow and passive which I feel gave Tabard some confidence ,and it allowed them to play a bit .. they had a good no 12 who was very quick and after winning a ruck in the middle of our 22 they swung the ball wide we didn’t have enough defenders and she ran around us to score under the posts and convert….

This galvanized us a bit and we worked our way into their 22 and were starting to build some pressure when Debs appeared to twist her ankle and had to be swapped with Fresh… Wether this broke our concentration a bit I am not sure but we lost possession and Tabard got a couple of phases together from a ruck again to the right of the field we had managed to turn the ball over only for the girl to play it off the floor so they could maintain possession and with 12 running a great line coming from deep burst through at least 3 tackles and scored once again under the posts 14-0 with 10 minutes or so left in the half …

We were rusty and it was showing and needed to work a little harder … from the restart we managed to get some good field position and played with a bit more intensity Dara and Fresh had made an impact bringing the ball forward and with us keeping possession for the first time moved out to Fresh who using Eleanor and Chloe as decoys cut back inside to score under the posts … the first real time we went wide and benefitted from it and with Tracey converting it put us back in the game …..

With half time approaching we were starting to have a bit more possession , but the whistle came a bit early for us.

With Lisa swapping for Chloe who had , had a pretty good half albeit she hadn’t seen much of the ball Hannah on for Freya , Faye into the game as well pretty well everybody was getting a run out ….

We started much better in the second half but were guilty of not moving the ball wide .. and this arm wrestle often ended in a knock on or losing possession … we were not accurate at the breakdown and their no 8 was great at getting over the ball … .. from centre field the no 12 again was given too much room and sent up a kick across and into the corner ..Annie was covering well but the bounce of the ball was cruel on the hard ground and looped over her and with the Tabard no 9 up in support gathered and raced under the posts again …
This was unlucky but it was a good attempt that came off and at 21-7 we had some work to do ..

I think its probably fair to say that we started to get the upper hand now as clearly Tabard were tired and our forwards were getting more of the ball … we moved the ball nicely again and with Eleanor and Ellen combining this time Ellen scored in the corner with perhaps her first opportunity .. and at 21 -12 and ten minutes to go it was anybodies game.

Whoever scored next would probably win … and with our large squad Tabard were clearly tiring fast … however the best player on the pitch would have the final say .. and the no 12 stepped up again after some good hands and accelerated around onto a marginally forward pass and despite the best efforts scored again and with the conversion made at 28-12 5 mins left …

We tried manfully to get into the game again but were forced into touch on the 5 meter line and the ref blew for time ….
We needed the game it was clear .. and there are greater challenges to come .. but this is the start of our second season as a group and we are growing in numbers and experience but we are still young in many ways

I used the word disappointed after the game and perhaps that’s a sign of the development we have made .. we have played better and can but that’s sport right .. it was a close game and could have gone either way but Tabard had that fraction more quality when it was needed … this will come for us … chins up Ladies we go again …

Finally a Special mention for Eleanor Bull ..she is leaving us to go to Uni .. Eleanor has been here from the start and we will miss her not only for her tackling and ..she doesn’t miss many … but for her big smile and cheery attitude ..

Always a place for you here stay in touch and if your down let us know.

And to Pariese and Lee-anne thanks you for your attitudes at the weekend and your commitment on the field .. albeit against us it will stand us well in the future …..

Stockwood ladies end on high note

Once again Stockwood Ladies were on the road       to play Hampstead Ladies in the final  League game of the season …

With .. Aimee. Daisy, Annie ,Fran, Claire Sl Alice Lisa,Hazel,Debbie ,Fay and Shania either unavailable or injured we still managed to travel with  19…. This has been  simply fantastic ,the depth of the squad, all season has been a constant strength and something as Head Coach I am immensely proud of

Now when you consider that Hampstead are second and believe that they can still win the league this wasn’t going to be easy .. the return fixture saw us go down 65-5  so needless to say

We had our work cut out …….

I was going to go through the game as normal but it is becoming increasingly difficult to single out performances when as a team the collective will to win and never give up is truly awesome ..

Hampstead came at us hard from the start  but we were up for the battle and whilst having to work really hard we managed to keep them at bay whilst creating little breaks of our own .. perhaps the intensity of it all made us switch off for a second and Hampstead’s 10 managed to avoid three tackles and score under the posts … I think all three girls were disappointed at not making the tackle .. but that’s the game right …. This spurred Hampstead on and managed to force themselves over again from a penalty near the line to take a 12-0 advantage after 20 mins or so

The next 15 mins was all us we pushed back and tackled and counter rucked did a nice inside move and started to work our way up the pitch .. Fresh deciding to come to the game earlier than normal managed one of her breaks and was away .. getting caught she set back to the advancing Stocks in support with the ball finally going to Cat ..who found the clear space to score under the posts and with Tracey making the conversion we were right back in it. 12-7 at half time ..

The second half started much the same but more in the middle of the park ..and we were holding our own  but once again just switched off for a second and Hampstead just had enough to score and convert taking them 19-7 in front ….. that meant we needed to score twice at least … we made a couple of clean breaks with only the fullback to beat .. she managed to make the tackle but I use that word  loosely as I think another REF could easily have decided they were trips … real borderline ….

Hampstead managed to withstand our little period of dominance and return to an arm wrestle in the middle of the pitch..breaking out once more to score one more time before the end to finish up 24-7 winners ..

This was a great performance by us and a fantastic way to finish the year … we have so much opportunity to continue growing that we hopefully will be a force to be reckoned with next year .

Whilst this was a massive positive for us it is tinged with a little sadness.. as 3 of the regular players are moving on with their lives …. Irish ,Eleanor and Cath  for different reasons won’t be with us next year and from my point of view I wanted to publicly thank them for their commitment and effort this year all 3 have played pretty well every game and have been amazingly consistent … I know we will all miss them very much not just for their playing ability but as people… I wish them well for their  futures and there will always be a place at Stockwood Park for them .

The Ladies have a tour to look forward to travelling to France  soon …. Although listening to the plans I am not sure how much Rugby will be played …

Then it’s all about next year … can’t wait ….      Keith Head Coach Stockwood Park Ladies ….a title I am honoured to have …thank you Ladies so much …..

 

Ladies much improved performance against Marlow

So the Ladies were out on the road again .. travelling this time to Marlow a Rugby club with a fine tradition and in my experience always a well-trained outfit.

The weather on the way  down wasn’t particularly inspiring as it was should we say “wet”..

Upon arrival it looked deserted so the weather had put off the big crowd we are normally used to … and in a leafy suburb of Buckinghamshire you could almost hear a pin drop.

Having arrived nice and early we warmed up really well and had time to have a chat in the changing room before we started …even all the referees pre-amble was carried out inside.

We talked about the need to play simply in this weather to stick to our phases and spread the ball wide .. also to keep closer together so the pass wasn’t at distance … in defence to counter act the ruck more and to target the No 10 who controlled the game in our previous encounter which was

Our first ever game this year with lots of newcomers and we were put to the sword  48-5

We are a lot better than that day and our growth is a revelation .

We kicked off playing slightly up-hill and in a mizzle that just never stopped ..(but the conditions under foot were good .)  we immediately put Marlow under pressure and pushed them into their 22, like in previous weeks it was thrust and counter thrust as both teams were getting possession albeit we had the majority .. the really nice thing was we were following instruction and with Daisy and Dara getting their hands on the ball a lot but with Amy and Abbie really dominating the breakdown we were trying hard .. perhaps a little too hard as we couldn’t quite get our passing accurate enough although we did look threatening. As I mentioned MARLOW were well drilled and effective albeit they never really looked like scoring or getting out of their half especially in the first half. With Sophie dominating her opposite number as asked and giving us a real go forward Eleanor and Ellen combined to create enough space at last to get around Marlow’s defence and score in the corner. Credit here must also go to the forwards where Abbie and Amy ,Dara and Danni had created a panic in the defence suck them in a bit .. after about 25 mins we clearly hit a bit of a brick wall as we tired Marlow spent more time in our half and looked a bit more threatening .. Danni was doing a great job of disrupting any ball that Marlow had driving through the middle of rucks along with Abbie .Amy and Dara. And as previously mentioned Sophie was up fast brilliantly supported by Eleanor ,Ellen and Catherine ..with Ally doing the same on her side .. from a panicky kick in midfield Marlow forced us back onto our own line and with 4 mins to go really gave it a go .. the defence was magnificent with Tracey and Daisy stopping and pushing them back Ally and Eleanor combining to force them into touch .. at one stage it looked as if they had made it to the whitewash only for Tracey to get herself under the ball .. from that move somehow Danni had been smacked square on the nose .. blood everywhere … turns out her and Cath had a coming together …. As it was last play time for Hannah Thomas to make her senior debut at the tender age of 17 and with the Stockwood stone –wall standing the half finished   5-0 to us.

We probably should have been a bit further ahead butchering a couple of good chances … but to be fair to Marlow they were working hard and deserved to be still in touch…

Second half was downhill slightly so hopefully that would help at some stage .. we started again brightly and put Marlow under a lot of pressure and were 10 meters out for quite awhile .. I was feeling nervous because again whilst trying to do the right thing it just wasn’t coming off .. with Abbie needing a break Danni returned to the fray and continued where she had left off … (probably her best game in a Stockwood shirt) with Daisy making some charging runs , Hannah really impressive at the breakdown we pushed and pushed ..again we created some space and put Ellen in once more she was no more than 2 yds. from the line when she was taken out by a flying Marlow player around the neck .. when the whole ground and even their players wince clearly it was a high tackle and dangerous … the ref awarded a penalty only .. now fortunately Ellen was ok but it should have been a penalty try as a minimum ..she would have scored no doubt… anyway this seemed to ease the pressure on Marlow and they managed to break out and get over the halfway line Annie playing at fullback hadn’t had a great deal to do but in tackling a Marlow player was concussed and had to come off .. with Tracey dropping to full back and Abbie returning to the field it was time for Lee-Ann to make her debut at second row … she had never played any form of rugby match at all .. only trained …. Marlow then managed to get the upper hand a bit and once again pushed us back ..but once again the girls held firm and Marlow never really got to within 5 meters .. there was some real confidence shown as the girls continued to try and pass their way out of trouble and considering the incessant rain the handling was excellent .. then once again we managed to create that space and Danni ran on to a pass the only issue she had was she had all the pitch to run an promptly set off .. with Eleanor in close support Dani got to within a yard of the line when she was caught but fighting off the defender managed to get herself over the line for the second score.10-0 …

From then on the remaining time was spent 5 meters from Marlow’s line and we hashed up a few opportunities to score some more points but all in all it was a very controlled performance .. in the last  3 games we have only let 12 points past us ..clearly our defence is getting there when we make the right decisions attacking clearly we will be a force to be reckoned with.

 

Sophie was back of the match for another commanding performance but particularly for doing exactly what I asked her to do …

Abbie was the forward of the match constantly going forward lovely offloads and helping several times to turn the ball over at the ruck…

 

As of writing Annie was ok after having visited the hospital with concussion … big thanks to Tracey for shooting her straight there

 

4th place is secure we have one game left this season in the league .. ..Hampstead away ….

Match Report/Videos : Committed ladies come out on top

With the sun finally showing an appearance making it a surprisingly warm Sunday afternoon ,Stockwoods Ladies .. entertained Kilburn Cosmos in the last home League fixture of the season
With a few unavailable and others carrying injuries we had a slightly inexperienced back line normal fly half Aimee was rested with her knee still sore and Debs with her back and ankle the same …also with Eleanor on East Midlands duty it was left for the returning Sophie to take up the fly half mantle Cat came in off the wing to inside centre and Ellen to outside with Lisa and Keara on the wings and the ever present Irish at fullback.
In the forwards it was a slightly different story with a strong line up to the point where regular hooker Cath was loaned out to the opposition along with Annie and Claire who was replaced by the returning Jay after 20 mins or so…
Kilburn have had some unfortunate injuries this year and have had to play with 12 most weeks .. we offered out to help as this will help us long term with game time for players as with a squad of 30+ its proving hard to keep everybody involved.
Sunday was a sad day in as much as Keara and Shania ..we’re making their last appearances this season and Irish her last home game ever as she is planning on returning to Ireland and then possibly off to Australia.
The game started at a pace and despite the discussions surrounding creating phases .. we were a bit passive again .. Kilburn had a lot of the ball but couldn’t really get out of their half as our defence was pretty solid ,but we kept either giving penalties away or knocking the ball on to give possession back.
We started to push Kilburn back a bit with good driving forward from Amy and Daisy .. Fresh and Tracey were around the fringes well but we were struggling to create anything with real quality .. rushing a bit or hard hands .. Kilburn infringed a few times and from one of the penalties we managed to move it wide and Cat found the space to dive over and score the first try …With Sophie missing the conversion it was 5-0 but we weren’t quite firing on all cylinders.
The rest of the half was played in Kilburns half but we were still not quite on form and despite the odd foray into our half we were comfortable but not creating enough and with Faye and Daisy creating a nice little phase up the touchline Faye was bundled into touch and halftime was reached.

We talked at the half about keeping a bit of structure and creating some phases to draw Kilburn out of position . making some changes swapping Lisa for Catherine to make her debut and Ally for Keara ..we started on the front foot and were so much better second half with Sophie now calling the shots and the back line starting to fire we were creating so much more and to be honest pretty well all of the second half was played in Kilburns 22 .. with wave and wave of attack rebelled by Kilburn with Ellen making two clean breaks only to be thwarted by Annie playing at fullback and Ally about to score also stopped by Annie …who was having great game in a Kilburn shirt … Sophie was stopped inches short .. Irish was stopped on the line ..Daisy was penalised for a double movement and Danni had one scrubbed out for what I wasn’t sure… but we were creating phase and then going wide and this was now starting to really pay off and with the forwards now dominating the breakdown there really was no let up for Kilburn .. Cat finally found space to get her second of the match which Sophie coolly struck through the uprights and the busy Fresh who seems to wait until the last 10 minutes to make her impact and accelerated and sidestepped her way to score for the second week in a row. With the last 10 mins being played in Kilburn’s 5 metre line it wasn’t a surprise that we started scoring
The game finished at 17-0 to Stockwood to consolidate our 4th Place in the League which is just brilliant from where we started …
Catherine had an impressive start to her career with 2 text book off loads setting up attacking chances on both occasions … Sophie was voted back of the match with a commanding performance from 10 even mentioned by the opposing coach … and Tracey was the forward of the match winning several lineouts against the head and cutting down their No 8 every time she broke off the scrum … that move just didn’t work …
17-0 was not a true reflection of our dominance but credit to Kilburn for that as they never at any stage backed off and defensively were good …. Not forgetting our own player stopped 3 potential scores …
It is always a pleasure playing Kilburn it’s what sport is about .. tough and uncompromising on the field and friendly off the field .. a good day played in a great spirit … look forward to playing you again next year.

Finally a personal thank you to all the commitment shown by all the girls but as Keara and Shania are unlikely to play again this year I would like to thank them both for bringing a smile to training and games and hope to see them both again either in the summer or beginning of next year .. thank you Ladies …

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Stockwood Ladies on the road

So after a convincing win last time out .. Mothers Day Arrives with a fixture in Haringey ..
The London Teams tend to be stronger at home and we had lost a few to the aforementioned Mothers Day and some sickness
But as I have said many times before our strength is the squad and again despite all of the above we have 19 fair and true…..
Having struggled with the traffic a bit we arrived with half hour or so before ko … not really enough time for us to truly warm up but what we did do was good… we looked focused and ready

Haringey ko and we try to put a few phases together the game is taking place in between the 22 and the Halfway line and is a bit of an arm wrestle to be fair … strong tackles brick wall defence from both sides ..
With Ellen starting at outside centre and Lisa and Chloe on opposing wings possibly one of our most inexperienced back lines , we had structure but couldn’t make any head way .. but neither could Haringey .. with the scrums being uncontested ..this made the game a little faster and the number of scrums being awarded was too many really .. which also added to the stop start nature of the game …
Haringey kept getting away with not rolling away …although we had the ball it wasn’t the cleanest … and slowed us down a bit… .
From our Scrum just to the right of our posts .. Haringey had overloaded the blind side so we tried to take advantage by switching out into the open side and create an overlap .. just when it looked like we were though we knocked the ball on .. and with the ref playing an advantage Haringey recovered the ball and managed to create just enough space and score themselves .. whilst disappointing .. it was the right thing to do just didn’t execute properly and our mistake was punished .. conversion made it was 7-0 after 10 – 15 mins or so ..
The game continued in very much the same vein with wherever the ball landed from the ko there was a bit of an arm wrestle … we had a bit of pressure in their 22 and pushed them to their line only for us to turn the ball over ..for an offside I think .. Haringey managed to kick clear and put in a good chase and pinned us back in our own 22 where the arm wrestle continued..
We were penalised for an off side and whilst there seemed to be some discussion surrounding this Haringey took a quick penalty .. we were not paying any attention and paid for this with them scoring again in the corner.. … with 10 minutes left it was 12-0
Now we needed to work a bit harder as it was clear we were evenly matched but we had given a 12-0 lead which might prove difficult to overcome ..
From the re-start we were brighter run a bit harder moved the ball a bit quicker and had Haringey on their line and were knocking at the door with Fran and Daisy .. knocking hard and Flash and Freya having a go as well finally from a 2nd or 3rd phase ruck .. Flash found the room and was in in the corner ..
No more than we deserved.. but it wasn’t easy .. 12-5 … in the last few minutes we had the ascendancy and it looked for all the world we had created enough room for Ellen to get into the same corner only to be put into touch by a very high tackle …. We didn’t convert the lineout properly and Haringey managed to clear
We discussed at half time the need to covert our opportunities as they would be few as we were so evenly matched .. and today was the day we need a mental strength and desire as Haringey were not going to lie down..
The second half was almost exactly the same as the first .. we didn’t make any errors though so although Haringey had a lot of pressure they never looked like scoring .. as hard as we tried we just couldn’t create the opportunity we needed to break away just couldn’t find that something extra ..
With us turning the ball over on our 5 meter line .. with the words last play ringing in our ears .. Flash found that something that bit of space to shrug of 3 defenders and accelerate away … now as a prop she shouldn’t be expected to run the full length of the pitch .. but she did avoiding all defenders and heading under the posts .. with 5 meters to go Haringey managed to catch her but we were there in support and besieged the Haringey line for the next 2 or 3 mins .. then unfortunately whilst still in possession knocked the ball on and that was that ….
A truly brutal game played in a great spirit … a draw would have been a fair result but that is rare in Rugby …… with Hazel and Cath playing pretty well the whole game on one leg … Lisa ,Keara , Chloe and Ally .. playing longer than ever .. Annie making her debut / comeback I think the performance was pretty great .. Ellen never put a foot wrong .. Katie and Aimee are becoming a fantastic pairing and Fran , Daisy and Flash never backed out of anything and with Danni Debs and Tracey putting in the lung busting effort they always do .. it was really very good.
Finally mention for 2 others … Freya .. completing her first game in a very long time due to her knee .ended up coming off after a massive collision with 10 minutes or so left … but just great to see her running about again .. and finally Irish who once again nailed the tackle when really needed but felt she didn’t play too well .. I just wanted to say that you have been very consistent for us and don’t beat yourself up .. you have had a fantastic season so far.

The picture shows what a great respect both teams had for each other … honours even as we beat then earlier in the season ………

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 ..final 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 ..you 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..