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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