Match report with video footage below the report;
On a particularly warm Saturday morning the 2017-2018 season and “journey” for Stockwood’s Ladies began …
We had a friendly trip to Kilburn to see if we could put into practice the structures and skills we have been talking about in training … We are a developing side I was clear I wasn’t expecting much more than 60 Mins of concentration and effort, with a mixture of newbies,oldies and first timers .. injury and early season availability left us with 11 to travel we set off to what would prove to be a valuable mornings rugby.
Kilburn start their season with this traditional fixture ,3 games being played in a festival type and friendly atmosphere. We had decided to play 12 aside they would lend us a player for each half and off we go …
Having put the scrum together in a space of 15 mins prior to the start (as we were uncontested) Alice went in at Hooker ,so not only has she never played a game but she went into a very important position so this would prove interesting . Sophie at fly half (never played there before) Eleanor first full senior game at 17, Fran debut .. Chloe never played before (wing) Irish Claire (I cant tackle) at fullback .. Ally at No 8 normally plays on the wing ? … Cath , Danni and Katie stalwarts … Ellen at outside centre (normally wing).
So as you can see this would be a challenge. Katie was made Captain for the day and up against a side who were 18 or so in strength and used to playing with each other( they did have some newbies but they were on the wings which is a bit easier to settle in ) she would need all her motivational skills.
We started we received and went into contact … what followed was to say the least truly magnificent .. with Danni and Fran picking and driving .. Cath and Alice supporting them well we really go on the front foot we created several phases and were really controlled and quite precise .. for approximately 15-20 mins we had a bit more of the game and when they did go wide and around Claire and Eleanor covered beautifully and closed down the opportunities .. at this point Fran deserves a mention for countless pick and drives which allowed us to be going forward and she always made ground a truly superb debut … when the ball came out Sophie had the line in the right place and the passing was effective and solid .. Kilburns line speed was quick and they managed to stop us before we could really create too much … but with Eleanor and Ellen taking the contact and the support arriving we had a fair share of possession if not the lions share.
It was at this point that Kilburn managed a bit of a breakaway score somehow finding themselves with the ball in midfield their very effective 12 found space and with an overlap it just needed to go through hands and that’s what they did and opened the scoring under the posts.
I would like to mention at this point that we had had 3 lineouts I think 2 ours and 1 of theirs .. Alice nailed her throws to Fran who was lifted magnificently…. This is a technical side of the game that takes a lot of practice … or does it .. 15 mins of discussion led to almost perfection at the lineout … and Fran nearly stole everyone of Kilburns ably supported by Danni and Cath lifting
At 7-0 we were possibly a bit unlucky but the heat was taking its toll a bit and with Sophie off for a bit of medical attention Kilburn managed to go wide once more and score in the corner despite the best efforts of Ellen and Claire … at half time the score was 12-0 … which was perhaps unfair but considering the situation we had started from felt like a massive victory.
The second half was similar in many ways but the heat was taking its toll more on us than Kilburn and they found a few more gaps with their very strong running fullback getting through and their impressive 12 also ..
However the girls never gave up and indeed when they realised that there was only seven or so minutes to go … upped their intensity and started to get some more possession .. from a quick penalty and an interchange between Fran and Katie .. Fran crashed over to score her first of what I am sure will be many tries in a Stockwood shirt … It was the least they deserved for the efforts on the day … the game finished 36-5 I believe but the result wasn’t important for us .. the performance very much was and if this is a base we are going to build from it’s a very solid start …
We decided there were too many great performances to award a Man (Woman) of the Match as everybody was brilliant … but a couple of Coaches special mentions … Fran … everywhere on the day and capped off with a try .. thoroughly deserved … and Claire (Irish) .. a week ago we had a discussion about how to tackle from behind .. this is a very difficult skill to coach or even explain so I said … you need to decide if your quick enough to catch up if not then if your near enough just commit and go for it ..with about 10 mins to go their very strong running fullback ran through and looked like she was going to score, Claire however had other ideas and did exactly what we had talked about and took down the player like a Lion catching an antelope … truly magnificent tackle and for me it makes all the talking and training so worthwhile ..
Thank you all so much …
Ladies Team Coach
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