Women’s Rugby begin season in style, thrashing Kings for fifteen without conceding
Line up: 1) Abdalle, 2) Buttery, 3) Collins, 4) Mayers, 5) Zhao, 6) Daniels, 7) Lightfoot, 8) Houvast, 9)Ranft, 10)Menon, 11) Fisher, 12) Duker, 13)Marasinska, 14) Dadulla, 15)Shand, 16)Wade, 17) Miller, 18) Newton-Ford, 19) Strupp.
The first game of the season against the only team we’ve beaten before was greatly anticipated by all. With several newbies in the QMBL lineup, now was the time that the efforts of the previous weeks’ training sessions would be judged.
Initial exchanges between both sets of forwards were fairly even, the persistent rain of the Chislehurst afternoon making handling difficult for both sides, so no one was really too surprised by the high number of scrums that were to take place. Of much greater surprise though was the disparity between the two sets of scrummagers.
The QMBL tight five of Abdalle, Buttery, front row virgin Kate Collins, and the 2nd rows Mayers and Zhao, totally dominated their opposite numbers, driving them, wheeling them, and pushing them back to within inches of their tryline during a succession of scrums in the visitors’ 22. Equally as taken aback as the Kings’ pack was the referee, who felt the need to praise our forward cohesion on a number of occasions, but also claimed the opposition back feet of another retreating scrum had already crossed the tryline, so thus awarded a 22 drop-out when the ball was touched down in goal.
However, a marker was laid down by the ladies in blue (later acknowledged by the Kings’ pack, and the referee with a request for uncontested scrums): “The scrums belong to us, here will you find no joy.”
More handling errors in continuous rain caused knock-ons from both sides, so rarely was the ball passed along the backs to the wing without going to ground. Rucking from both sides was not as clinical as it could have been, many forwards opting to pick and go, but QMBL discipline at the breakdown, plus great tackling on some of Kings’ larger forwards, enabled the ever lively Ranft at 9 to feed Menon, the QMBL speedster at 10, to run in the first try (conversion missed).
The spirit in the home camp was great and forward pressure from all those taking to the field restricted Kings to isolated forward drives, with some really considerable units in the Kings’ pack being brought to ground in such unceremonious fashion that retaliatory elbows and boots began to fly. QMBL ladies maintained discipline, preferring to exact revenge within the laws through some excellent tackling (plus the odd high shirt-scrag).
Defensive line-speed in the backs continued to improve, so much so that continued pressure on pass recipients led to even more uncontested scrums, where newbies Strupp and Daniels both tried their hand at Hooker. As testament to defensive structure, the blue 22 was not encroached upon once during the whole game.
The third try came through an individual solo burst by Ranft (conversion missed). With such forward dominance, perhaps more points could have been amassed, but the weather conditions did not allow for much movement of the ball in the backs, nor continuous ball to hand in the forwards that a drier day may have allowed.