Stockwood Ladies v Harlow
This Sunday at London Road saw the visit of Harlow in the return league fixture .
Harlow are known for their dogged determination and no little skill especially their no 9 and 10 … unfortunately they struggle for squad numbers and arrived with only 10 In the Ladies game we have to match up and so a 10 aside game was agreed with 5 forwards and 5 backs … Now I cannot hide my dislike for 10s it’s a completely different game from a full 15 aside and to be honest you need to be fit. So the plan was to rotate second rows every 10 mins or so and fit Lisa and Chloe into the backs at some stage .. we had decided to have a smaller squad as trying to get 22 players on would prove too disruptive. Also with Harlow playing this shorter sided game they are much more used to it and so really had an advantage.
Nonetheless we talked about setting a platform and then releasing the ball to Ellen / Sophie and Debs who have a real pace to their play …. Lets get it done early as in the past we have always had a tough encounter with Harlow. So to the crowds delight we caught the ball from the kick off … I was talking with the physio … turned around to see Sophie sprinting up the line to score under the posts after 30 seconds or so … With the bits firmly between our teeth this was the format for the first half .. with the forwards working really hard to create the platform to release Sophie on another 2 Occasions and with Tracey converting very soon it was 17-0 up …
As I mentioned 10s is a far quicker game with more energy expended and so Harlow would get opportunities especially their 9-10 axis ..they decided to kick and chase a lot ..especially as there was a strong wind behind them … we were aware of this and with Ellen , Sophie and Lisa staying alert managed to kwell these moves fairly easily and launch our own attacks . With Sophie scoring again at 22-0 it would appear the game was in control … Changing things about a bit making sure everybody had some game time Harlow started to get a little bit more of the ball and for all the world looked like they would score in the far corner .. but the scrambling Stockwood defence was incredible and not only kept them out turned that defence into an attack which was thwarted in Harlows 22 …
Half time was greeted with a sigh as clearly we needed a break … Abbie ,Amy ,Shania, Hannah, Fran , Cath , Leeanne ,Emma ,P and Freya had worked so hard creating the platform for the backs and they all had done exactly that … The second half would become frustrating after Debs got an early score to take it out to 27-0 clearly the exertions of the first half had taken their toll … as Harlow had the majority of the possession and increasingly becoming dangerous and a little feisty to be honest … but this is the measure of our ever maturing ability and mental strength .. to make tackle after tackle ..with Charlie a constant pain to their scrum half and Tracey making a tremendous try saving tackle we did everything to keep them out … with us missing out on some 50-50 calls from the ref Harlow got a real head of steam and tried valiantly to get back in the game … but apart from just once it was not going to happen …at the final whistle 27-5 the result and in many respects a fine display of attacking Rugby in the first half and defence in the second…. We now have a break for a couple of weeks on the League ..but we do have a development friendly this coming weekend so some of the squad can get some real game time….
Well done girls that’s 3 wins out of the Last 5 and the 2 losses were very close ……. Keep going its getting tight at the top ….