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 …..