Tag: Stockwood Park Ladies Rugby

Ladies vs Kilburn Cosmos

So on the complete opposite of a day to our previous run out we set off for Kilburn Cosmos.. a team we always enjoy visiting a truly lovely bunch who give everything on the field and are great hosts after .
The Great News is that Kilburn have been successful with their recruitment drive and had a squad of 17 for the first time in ages and they were really looking forward to playing a “proper “ game of Rugby

We have had a tremendous commitment again this season and with 21 on the traditional Coach journey all was set .

Now with one of our greatest supporters celebrating her 60th Birthday the previous eve .. .I was worried about what condition we would all be in ..but they were all there and on time and in good spirit so no worries …

With the wind and the drizzle pretty much set it was a little cooler than the mid summers day of the previous Sunday ..but not bad conditions for the game .

We kicked off and it was clear the energy levels weren’t quite where we wanted them to be ..whilst we played pretty much the first 20 minutes in Kilburn’s half … Kilburn had a lot of the ball … but our defence was pretty good and they were going nowhere despite having possession … Debs made a couple of Breaks , Daisy and Abbie were trying but things weren’t quite coming off and we weren’t using the backs and as previously mentioned energy levels were low we were a bit passive …just not functioning quite right …. Finally moving the ball quickly Debs and Sophie combined to put Sophie M away and she finished under the posts 5-0… So it was clear we needed to create a platform move the ball wide and both Ellen and Sophie would be too quick … Having been a bit grumpy about what I was watching, for the next 15 mins or so we dominated and whilst not firing on all cylinders it was much better .. Sophie K made a great break to score and Sophie M scored twice more with Tracey converting 2 out of the 3 suddenly we were 24-0 up .
With P having a good influence when she came on .. and Ally and Chloe getting a run out it was good that the whole squad was being used … Red had a bit of a knock so Sophie K dropped to Fullback and Kimberly also came on and with Daisy also needing a break pretty much the whole squad was on …
The last 2 mins of the Half Kilburn managed to get inside our 5 metre line and despite repelling wave after wave of attack .. with Lee-Anne sin binned for penalty top -up .. Kilburn finally broke the resistance and scored a deserved try for their efforts .. although not really threatening they had played some good rugby in the first half. Despite leading 24-7 at half time its a measure of our expectation levels that we knew we could play better and with a change at scrum half with Charlie being replaced by Claire ..Charlie had had a pretty good game in fairness .. with Sophie M and Ellen taking a break it was Cath Swindell to come on to get all 21 good game time …

Playing with 14 for the first 7 mins of the second half we just picked the energy up a bit … with a few decisions going against Amy which wound her up a bit and that had the effect of some big hits going in putting us on the front fit and with Sophie K joining the line from fullback to score in the corner despite 3 Kilburn players trying to stop her it was a positive start to the second half .. from then on however it returned a bit to the pattern of the first half although possession stats were more 50-50 .. the game was played entirely in Kilburn’s 22 .. they never really threatened despite a lot of hard work … the good thing for us was that our inexperienced players Ally , Chloe , Cath Swindell , Kimberley ,Charlie and Claire …. got some pretty decent game time and all stood up to make their tackles and be generally in the right place … with Daisy returning and making some good yardage .. we still seemed reticent to move the ball wide but with 5 mins or so to go Daisy crashed over with 3 or 4 hanging on for the final score in the corner and at 34-7 complete what appears a comfortable win …. I wouldn’t describe it as that because Kilburn never give up and will become harder to play if they can keep the squad together.

However for us its now 4 wins on the bounce scoring 129 pts and conceding just 31 …. since Christmas apart from Hitchin who have won every game our form would put us second in the League and indeed having despatched the 2nd placed team last week ..its clear our huge improvement has now given us some consistency at a decent level .. and its a sign, whilst the coach was a bit moany … even after a heavy night the mental strength was there to get the job done

2 Games left this season … Home to Tabard and away to Royston .. if we win both of those then we can finish second if other results go our way … if we win both the games we can finish 3rd … however we have lost to both these teams this season so its no easy task ….. but you know what … I believe you can do it …….c’mon the Park

Ladies vs Hampstead

Having regrouped and counted the walking wounded our second home league fixture of the season found us again with a full squad .. this time 19 … I believe this to be a first for this group that we have been able to turn out these numbers regularly so theres a positive before we start .. and with the “development league” you get a point for a full squad .. so whatever happened today we would receive another 2pts but lets hope for more …

Without the regular scrum half or 10 we were in trouble really as Cat couldn’t arrive until 2pm on the dot .. so with Tracey at 9 and Ellen trying out at 10 we started a little bit disjointed.. Hamptead took advantage of this from the start and scored 3 tries really quickly which we were never to recover from … Whilst a few players were giving their all as a collective our intensity was a bit low and generally we were watching Hamptead play instead of competing with them. On occasions we started to play a bit and challenge Hampteads skill sets and when under pressure they started to fail a bit … again at the end of the half we were camped on their line and just couldn’t get the ball to the right place to score .,.. as with the previous week we are a bit passive when we don’t have the ball and teams at the moment are having success when they create multiple phases.
With Chloe , Lisa , Claire Sl, Chloe B and Claire Walsh all getting valuable game time its starts to create us some depth and with experience this will give us the strength as well.

Hampstead ran the ball well and were very good at keeping the ball “live” despite the intentions of Eleanor and Tracey , Faye Danni and Fran to stop them hard… Lisa who had never played more than 5-10 mins played a full half at fullback and showed a great understanding of the role and was unlucky on several occasions not to stop her attacker .#

Having got a bit frustrated with our intensity a few words behind the try line seemed to “wake” everybody up our pick and drive proving very successful as we moved our way up the field .. Dara and Daisy making ground being supported by Amy Danni , Fran and Shania, we kept moving and re-cycling the ball well to finally find Daisy to crash over the line and score a well deserved try …

Again perhaps the score was a little unflattering but there were some real good performances and we are growing as a team / squad of 25-26 regulars …be interesting to see what the reverse fixture brings …
Faye voted forward of the match
Eleanor voted back of the match

Special mention for Tracey who was fantastic out of position and Daisy for her first try …

Finally I would ask you all to start to believe in yourselves as I truly think this is holding us back a bit .

Overall its all great and you appear to be having a good time which is all that really matters

Ladies improved vs Hitchin

So on a sunny Sunday afternoon the Ladies had their first away game in the League with the short journey to Hitchin …
With a fabulous squad of 22 and plenty of support too there is no doubt we are gaining momentum with our Journey.

Wasn’t sure what to expect when the Ref announced before the game that he had sent 2 Coaches off this season already and that I should be aware that his daughter used to play at Hitchin albeit she was at Uni now… and as it transpired I needed to expect nothing as that is what we got ..(not that the result would have been different, but that is not the point)

Anyway … we started very brightly and for the first 10 minutes or so had a very even battle albeit in our own half … with Dara and Fran leading the contact and Katie and Aimee organising the team we look structured and generally held ourselves together well and defensively were sound. However we dropped our intensity a bit and this gave Hitchin a bit too much momentum allowing them to score after 15-20 mins or so ..
Hitchin play with a lot of aggression and intimidation and with very specific attempts at handing off on the face whilst not strictly against the laws are certainly on the edge of what is acceptable.
With Irish making her normal saving tackles .. Eleanor all over the pitch in defence we held ourselves together enough .. but started to pick up injuries and conceded a couple more scores quickly . We really need to compete more at the breakdown as we are allowing teams to have too much of the ball and by the 5th or 6th phase of an attack the opposition tend to be able to find some space .. albeit they have had to work for it.
We galvanised ourselves well and played for the last 15 mins or so of the half within 10 metres of their line … we put together lots of phases and found Hitchin committing penalties at the breakdown Amy ,Dara , Daisy ,Faye ,Tracey and Fran all working hard as we kept inching towards the line ..Debbie and Cath trying their utmost to get through and get the ball wide to Ellen or Ally to score .. Hitchin kept us at bay but through conceding 6 or 7 Penalties in what is known as the red zone .. for me this is either a Penalty Try or a Yellow card as they were deliberately fouling to stop the play/momentum and on 2 occasions this led to a break out by Hitchin to score ….. the second half had a very similar flow to it .. although by this time both Katie and Aimee were off injured with Cat doing the scrum half duties and Alice Lisa and Chloe… coming on to give it a go.. Shania playing in various different positions giving her all. Hitchin managed to score regularly but again we never give up and for the last 10 mins of the match found ourselves doing exactly what we had at the end of the first half but his time with 8 or 9 penalties to keep us at bay .. again we were not awarded anything for this and ended up scoreless and 53-0 result.
Personally I feel this not to be a fair reflection of the game perhaps a 39-15 would have been more indicative of how we had played. The last time we had played Hitchin we were on the end of a 93-0 scoreline so to have almost halved this shows a great improvement considering the intensity with which Hitchin play.

My last comment about this game is surrounding the ref …we accepted every decision as we should and showed him a large amount of respect as is the Rugby way …. But he refused to shake my hand at the end of the game and I find that unforgivable ..

Ladies go down to Marlow

This Sunday saw the Ladies of Stockwood Park begin their first major League campaign against the Ladies of Marlow .. who would no doubt be a well drilled side having had more experience and time together.
Buoyed by the last performance there was a lot of anticipation and having 16 available we already had a point before we started …. Unfortunately Marlow had only 12 so we had to play 12 aside.. .However with the subs situation we hoped it would help us as the game went on.
We started well with Aimee coming in at 10 and Sophie moving out to Inside Centre and with Eleanor and Ellen outside her this was as strong a back line as we could put out … with the space on the pitch this looked like an advantage, as the game went into 10 mins having had to defend for a period we finally managed to release the backs from our own 5 metre line what followed was a brilliant try with support and pace and no little skill with the ball changing hands 3 or 4 times for Aimee to finally touch down .. what was her first try in a match ….and what a fantastic start to the League Campaign ..

Marlow reacted strongly and had a very elusive 10 of their own who has obviously played a lot of Rugby and potentially at a higher level because she started pulling strings and running the game … Marlow attacked down the blind side and were thwarted a couple of times by super Trace .. playing at fullback for the first time … but eventually their possession told and equalised in the corner … It was here that we showed our lack of experience against their 10 who again attacked at the blind twice more to score and with one conversion and a further score on the other side the wind was taken out of our sails a bit. Really we should have been able to spot what they were going to do and counter –act it.
Eleanor was trying her hardest and her tackle count was mounting .. .we were a little disappointing in the forwards not reaching the levels of the previous game and getting over the ball quickly enough to give us the momentum and possession we changed it about a bit with Cath and Fay coming on and making a little bit of a difference .. Katie ended up being in the maul to often and Eleanor, because she was tackling ,so left the backline a little disjointed.

These things happen in the heat of battle .. and as we play more games this will happen less and less .. The second half we gave very little in attack and when we did have the opportunity we made poor choices and lost possession when a chance to score was there … with the unfortunate injury to Sophie putting a real dampner on the day .. and as of writing I don’t know how she is and I know we all wish her well and I would like to add how unfair these things are sometimes as she was becoming a very good player in a quick time .. I just hope it was nothing serious … I felt we lost our intensity a bit … nobody gave up everybody kept trying .. but we weren’t quick enough in line speed and a bit passive at the breakdown .. with the lineout misfiring as well we just couldn’t get enough possession to let Ellen and Eleanor attack as we know they can.
So first game is a loss but that is irrelevant we are progressing there are so many positives .. a squad of sufficient numbers with other players to come back , Amy ,Shania making solid debuts ..Eleanor, Sophie ,Aimee and Ellen showing real intent in attack .. Tracey playing a strange role for her and doing a great job .. Katie all over the game and organising as best she can Fran and Danii forming a good partnership .. Ally getting better every time she plays …. and solid performances from Cath and Fay off the bench …

The good news is you were all disappointed and that is a really good sign for the journey we are on … hold tight ladies it will come good in the end.

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