Tag: Ladies rugby luton

St Neots pipped by Ladies

After the Xmas Break it was time to return to the rugby field…

With only one training session prior to the next match this was always going to be difficult on the body. Prior to Xmas the Huns had put in a couple of decent performances against the top sides in the league and not really got what the efforts deserved, this was the return fixture from earlier in the season where Daisy had been injured and we went down quite heavily in the end which wasn’t really a true reflection, but as I always say scoreboard never lies.

Travelling to St Neots on a mildish morning with a bit of nip in the wind we had a good squad of 20 with the boost of our Uni girls still being around. We warmed up well and I thought we seemed pretty focused. The backs have been a bit of a problem with changes in personnel meaning we haven’t been consistent in this area. With Aimee away, Eleanor went into Fly half and Katie playing only her second time at outside centre we had a different look to us. With Sophie and Chloe on the wings and stonewall Lisa at fullback we were ready to start.

We started brightly in the first 5 minutes carrying well and pushing St Neots back. With the forwards Abbie, Kristie, 2 Cath’s, P, Tracey, Shania and Hannah all combining pretty well to keep possession – In fact St Neots never really came out of their half and all was looking good – we were working hard but not creating much, there seemed to be a few times we would give the ball away only to regain it to lose it again. St Neots’ No 10 was everywhere, very good at being the 2nd person into any ruck and was either turning the ball over or disrupting our flow. However, I did think she can’t do this all game as she will get tired quickly.

When St Neots did try to move the ball themselves our back line was up fast, and everyone was making their tackles and smothering any opportunities, in fact St Neots when in possession either maintained field position or went backwards. Katie and Fresh were particularly to the front with this and Eleanor was starting to look really dangerous with her elusive running. From a tiny break we managed to use the forward momentum, and with excellent support and hands from forwards and backs created the overlap that Sophie needs, and without being asked twice accelerated away to score the first try; one which our possession had deserved. Trace couldn’t quite land the conversion but still 5-0 up away from home was a great start.

St Neots’ Coach was quick to instruct his girls not to get into an arm wrestle as he felt their opportunities lay out wide moving the ball quickly and using the 10 as she was a good player. We needed to disrupt that as much as we could. With a few stoppages for injuries, mainly to St Neots girls, play continued in a similar vein the only difference was that St Neots had a better field position just inside our half. Managing to get quick ball for once and with our back line not quite as up as they should have been just gave the 10 a sniff to get up some pace and with the tackle missed for the first time they were in behind us and she finished it, with the conversion making it 7-5 to St Neots kept to them right in the game.

We came back hard and whilst still losing possession a little too often we managed to defend well enough to force the error and get scrums, getting that little bit of go forward again time for Eleanor to step up jinking her way through to find an open run to the line. With St Neots scrambling back to get to her it was too late as she crashed over to score what is her first try for us which seems incredible for such a competent player and in her 3rd season. With the conversion close but no cigar we came to the last 5 minutes of the half at 7-10 The game continued in a similar vein and you could see that St Neots forwards were tiring badly, and you could sense an opportunity; they had made a few enforced changes; the 10 had been looked at a couple of times as well – in the previous game we had the same thing happen and we didn’t capitalise, would we make the same mistake again? With half-time coming we were up by 3 and with an opportunity as the wind was behind us.

By this time Capt. Daisy was back on the field and with both Cath’s needing a break, P switched to Hooker and Clare crawling out of her sick bed at 10 am to come and play went in at second row, Hazel slotted into prop and T replaced Chloe on the wing. The scrum seemed to lose a bit of its strength and the ball was not particularly clean off the back, but Charli was doing a good job at getting it out and Dais with a couple of pick and goes was making some ground. It was St Neots that struck first with the team dropping its level a bit we came under pressure and despite some sterling defence they forced themselves over in the corner and at 12-10 it was all in the balance and it looked as though we were committing the same errors as in previous. St Neots had a boost and had a little more possession and a couple of times looked to go around us only for Lisa and specifically T on two occasions making superb tackles to keep us in the game.

St Neots had lost their front row, so we were now uncontested, this galvanised us a bit and we forced them back to their own line and with excellent maintenance of the ball and good hands and support it was Hannah who next crossed the line for us to regain the lead. Hitting the post with the conversion left the score at 12-15 and a real tit for tat game. There was 15 minutes to go and we had regained our levels but to my frustration we switched off again and with St Neots scoring again to lead at 17-15 with 10 minutes to go it looked like we were letting history repeat itself. With both Coaches “asserting” themselves about effort not being quite good enough, Chloe returned for T who had gone off injured, Kristie was back on for Hazel and we had to give it one final big effort.
By this time St Neots’ 10 had left the field and we had a lot of possession. We always talk about building phases as this will create space and with a few minutes left that’s exactly what we did with St Neots defence sucked in and some lovely passing the ball is wide to Sophie who given space will out run anybody in this league of that I am sure. From just inside their half she accelerated away to score under the posts, not realising how close to the end of the game this was at 20-17 receiving the ball from the KO in the last play it was fitting that Eleanor should catch it and boot it into touch for the win that our play has deserved for a while.

What set this out was the fact we did learn from our mistakes of the past and raised ourselves as a team when it was needed. Everybody played pretty well, and a great deal of heart and soul was bared, and the coaching team were immensely proud, and it was great to see smiling faces again.

For me Eleanor was outstanding, Katie and Fresh also close to her. Abbie has been very consistent over the last few months and Kristie is returning to her best. P just gets better and better and a special mention for Chloe, who’s game is going from strength to strength.

This weekend another chance for revenge and with Dara and Aimee returning to the fold only adds to a really strong line up.

OWTP!

Ladies vs Harlow

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 ….

Ladies v Hampstead Ladies

On a nigh on perfect day for Rugby .. soft underfoot and not to cold or to hot … the New Year started with a bang at London Road .

Stockwoods Ladies were entertaining Hampstead in the return fixture in what is the Business end of the season …. Having defeated Hampstead by a final second try earlier in the season they were here for revenge.

Park had been playing really well just before Xmas and it was feared that perhaps the break might stop that momentum now we were going to see.

The early exchanges were fierce and Parks scrum was put under pressure but with Amy and Abbie ,Freya and P .. tackling and counter rucking despite not having much possession we were keeping Hampstead at bay …

Both teams were playing with a good structure clearly this was going to be a tough game with two evenly matched sides and it was Hampstead that struck the first blow ,having won possession in our 22 we were just starting to exert pressure of our own when Hampstead intercepted a pass and ran in to score under the posts ..with the conversion made after 10 mins it was 0-7 …

Parks response was swift winning the ball creating a platform finally managing to go through hands out to Sophie on the wing to run past 3 or 4 Hampstead players to score also under the posts .. to tie the scores up …

Katie our normal Captain and scrum half was injured and Daisy had taken up the reigns of Captain for the day with Sophie King playing at scrum half for the first time ever and her first full game for a year or so these 2 in particular were having influential games.

Hampstead however continued with their intensity and after a kick over the top Annie collected and retuned to be met by Hampsteads impressive and solid 12 who hit her hard in the tackle … Annie had to be replaced .. Lisa for the second match in a row dropped to fullback duties and the returning Debs came on at outside Centre … Sophie (winger) also had to have a break as a dead leg meant she was suffering a bit. Chloe replaced her on the wing.

The squad was being tested .. with the terrible twosome ably supported by Emma and now Lee-anne and Hannah – Park were starting to get some ascendancy .

Hampstead were still dangerous though and the 9 and 12 combined to create an overload .. Ellen was about to tackle the Hampstead player when she accidentally collided with Cath … and this left a 2 on 1 with Lisa and a dummy pass from the Hampstead girl sent her over under the posts again to go 14-7 up ..

We talked about needing another 10% if possible ..we were starting to get more possession in the forwards and Debs was getting line breaks and Daisy made several forages forward needing 4 or 5 of the opposition to stop her .

We were putting some phases together … from a penalty 5 mtrs out first Abbie then Amy then Daisy all tried to break the line ..the good thing was we kept the ball alive and recycled brilliantly … finally Tracey dived for the line to score as the ref had somehow tripped over and whilst doing a magnificent summersault still blew his whistle for the score … quite impressive … missing the conversion it was 12-14 with 6 mins or so to go to half time …

At half-time we talked about being patient as we were now getting more and more possession and they were starting to drop back off our intensity .. keep playing don’t panic game isn’t won at half-time … with Sophie (winger) returning to the fold pretty much everybody had been involved .. Ally was still due a run out …with Annie not being able to return there was a good chance she might be needed. Anyway, we made a couple of handling errors early and found ourselves defending again but managed to snuff anything out without too much difficulty ..we started to get some real go forward and with some good hands from Tracey , Fresh and Debs put Sophie away once more and she finished it well as she still had some work to do .. in the corner.

With our noses in front 17-14 .. we started to dominate the game a bit more with Freya returning our SQUAD was really making a difference especially as Hampstead started to lose some ….. however they were not giving up and possibly one of the moments of the game when from good field position Hampsteads 12 darted for the line getting past 2 defenders ….I didn’t see who did tackle her as she dived to score but whoever it was did enough to dislodge the ball from her grasp and she knocked on …. From this moment on Park pushed Hampstead back and from a break from Daisy the offloads kept the ball

Alive pretty much everybody at some stage offloaded FAY , P , Fresh and with Debs crashing onto it at the end to score was a truly sensational score … at 22-14 this gave us some breathing space … We really did dominate possession from here Sophie and Ellen looked like they had combined to score again but some desperate defending kept us out …

However we were not to be denied another score and with another great team move Fresh found the space she always does and slid through under the posts and with the conversion being made 29-14 … with Sophie King needing a break … Ally got to run out albeit 6 mins or so and Chloe with her textbook set back from a tackle ..made sure that all the squad got some minutes …

The most impressive thing about this result is the growing mental strength of these girls and the patience to trust in their skill set to see them through … we didn’t look panicked or stressed at any stage there was a clear inside belief we can win this game whatever they throw at us and so this proved …..

Home again next week … Oh when the Park !!

Defence work
Good forward work and then sooooooo close!
good attempt at break out play
try!
try!
try!
try!
and for good measure!