Ladies vs Royston

So on what is always a poignant day Stockwood Ladies entertained a new team to us, who have a similar record to our own this year and to what on paper should be a close encounter ….

Well as ever in Sport should never guess and should react to whats in front of you .. We had a full squad of 22 albeit a little inexperienced in certain areas .. without 4 or 5 regular starters this is still a great sign as we have serious depth of squad and we should be happy about that ..The only issue from a Coaches point of view … we haven’t started with the same team once this year … which effects continuity a bit …

With Annie hurting her ankle prior to the start .. that meant a slight adjustment to the starting lineup and big thanks to Cat for taking up the reigns of fullback … if you don’t play there it isn’t easy and I thought she made a great job of it …

After we had all paid our respects to the fallen of 100 yrs ago we were ready to start .. we had warmed up well and appeared up for it .. we ko ..Sophie chases it down and makes her tackle …unfortunately she wasn’t followed by anybody else .. Royston pop the ball off to their inside centre who was …fit ,athletic,strong and very quick …. And she proceeded to run around us all … Sophie to her immense credit ..chased her all the way from their 22 to 5 meters from our line where she caught her and brought her down .. the ball came out of her hands and bounced “ forward” I believe but in the refs defence none of us could have kept up with those two … and the supporting player scooped up and scored in the corner …. Less than a minute gone and 5-0 down … .and when she did the same thing 5 mins later at 12-0 and no time gone it was looking like a long afternoon ..

After another score to take it to 17-0 .. .we started to get involved a bit and from decent possession we kept the ball alive and through several phases Daisy managed to force herself over in the corner to put us back in the game …

To be fair the Royston forwards looked like they were backing off a bit as we were hitting with a bit more intensity … but we didn’t maintain it and became a little passive and that is dangerous with the pace that Royston had …

Without prolonging the agony Royston scored another twice to take the score out to 27 -5 .. but for the last 5-6 mins of the first half was our best spell worked as a group good passing good support and looked as if Tracey had scored but was given as a knock on ..we then won the scrum against the head and Cat and Ellen nearly combined to score in the corner only to be forced into touch for half-time…

The second half started exactly like the first and the first possession Royston had they scored and well that was that really ..with another score quickly at 37-5 we were struggling … Royston played good rugby with a structure and intensity that we never matched .. clearly they had a lethal weapon who was a constant thorn and indeed scored 5 tries I believe but they had other good players as well and when you don’t have the ball its all about DEFENCE … we have worked on line speed drift defence communicating with each other .. it seems that sometimes in the heat of the battle our confidence falls and therefore our thought processes aren’t clear either …

The score had racked up to 64 -5 when we managed to thwart an attack turn the ball over and with a perfectly timed pass from Hazel our own pocket rocket had the whole pitch and nobody in front of her and duly scored in the corner as she had a foot race with the aforementioned lethal weapon and won this time …. So at 64-10 .. not quite what we were hoping for … but the best side won and as we do never gave up kept fighting until the last.

I would like to mention though some real positives from the day Emma ,came on to debut and had a great impact to the point she was awarded forward of the match … I thought Shania had a really good game was involved a lot on the ball .. the evergreen Cath worked tirelessly and Hannah Thomas tried to cover everywhere … Freya had a good Impact off the bench and Fresh returning to the scrum seemed to relish the battle .. Charlie also made her full debut and perhaps for one of your first ever 15 aside games came up against somebody she wont face that often .. a real baptism of fire .. as already mentioned Cat did well in a foreign position and I thought both our wingers Ellen and Sophie did what they had to do when required …. Finally without running through the whole Team .. .I want to give the Captain a mention, under difficult circumstances always was positive and always tried her hardest and was at the front in trying to defend… cant ask much more of your Captain but to give her all ….

Finally if its ok to indulge myself a bit …. In the 14 mths or so that we have come together as a squad .. losing players , gaining players , injuries ,birthdays and holidays etc … we still have put out a team .. and we should be really proud of that commitment from the whole team … it feels like we have stepped backwards a bit … but actually that isn’t the case .. we are in a stronger position now than we have been I would suggest ever … when we have the whole squad available we will have a strong team and a strong bench and it will be difficult to choose … I look forward to that day ….

Next week its Haringey .. so another game to raise ourselves for . Come on the Park …

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