Ladies’ Rugby is the winner1st March 2018
Cheshunt Ladies 0 – 27 Biggleswade Ladies (Friendly)
Royston Ladies 10 – 12 Biggleswade Ladies (Friendly)
Biggleswade Ladies travelled to Cheshunt on Sunday for a friendly festival of rugby, and notched up a confidence-boosting double win.
Brand new side Cheshunt Ladies were due to play a development game against Royston Ladies, but kindly allowed Biggleswade to join in the fun after Biggy’s scheduled home match against Oxford Panthers IIs was cancelled by the opposition.
Cheshunt’s fixture turned into a three team festival, giving the Hertfordshire side – playing their first ever proper matches – some valuable game time.
Cheshunt Ladies 0 – 27 Biggleswade Ladies
Biggleswade’s first game was against Cheshunt (with some Royston players), and it was an encouraging performance from Biggy. Having previously only played friendlies against established league sides, they relished the rare opportunity to play a team with less experience than themselves, and looked well-organised and confident from the start.
The first try came from centre Claire ‘Chuckle’ Huckle, making a quick, bursting run after sustained possession and forward pressure. Captain and fly half Charlie Field converted.
An attacking kick from Charlie saw a great chase from winger Jo ‘Show’ Beard, putting pressure on the Cheshunt defence.
Lock Claire Watson and No 8 Amy Schiller made plenty of strong ball carries, with Cheshunt needing to team up to bring them down, which sucked players in and created gaps. Biggy possession was deservedly rewarded when the backs’ spread the ball out quickly to Ellie Reeve on the wing who raced in for a second Biggleswade try just before half time. (Any watching supporters, please be reassured that Ellie’s unforgivable try celebration – a shout of ‘GOAL!’ – will be punished with a suitable forfeit).
After the break, Ellie made another gain line-busting run, but it was pressure from the pack that earned the next try, with Claire Watson carrying the ball over the Cheshunt line.
Flanker Sarah Ashby had a typically strong game, gaining ground with some surging runs and textbook hand-offs.
Captain Charlie Field scored the most spectacular try of the match, beginning her run from the halfway line, flirting with the sideline, dodging tackles, and stepping inside to get Biggy’s fourth try.
And, to the sideline supporters’ delight, Biggleswade still hadn’t finished: Amy Schiller picked and went from a ruck to score a fifth and final try, making the end score an impressive 27-0.
Royston Ladies 10 – 12 Biggleswade Ladies (Friendly)
The second match was against Royston (with some Cheshunt players). Biggleswade were beaten by Royston in their friendly at the end of last year, and had failed to score any points against them, so were keen to play to their full potential.
One minute in and one missed tackle later Royston were five points ahead thanks to a breakaway try (unconverted), but Biggy didn’t panic and kept their shape and discipline, and continued the pattern in recent games of being more aggressive in the rucks and establishing a good defensive line.
Keeping possession and taking the ball forward through the middle of the pitch, Amy Schiller again had the vision to pick and go into space, almost making it over the line. Teri Taylor, with some sharp support play, saw another gap, and scored a great scrum-half’s try. Charlie Field converted to take Biggy two points ahead.
Combative flanker Sarah Ashby upped her already high tackle count in the second half with a perfect demonstration of flattening technique(!) and fitness – taking out four opposition players one after the other as she ‘rolled right’ across the width of the pitch.
And it was Biggleswade who scored again, after good backs’ interplay moved the ball out to the left wing. Biggleswade bundled over Royston’s line, with Jo Beard emerging from the meleé with a beaming smile that revealed she was the try-scorer.
The clock was ticking down, and Royston battled back, scoring a second try but missing the conversion, which meant Biggy were leading 12-10 with only a couple of minutes to go. Biggleswade kept their heads, retained possession, pressed forward, and kept their two point advantage until the final whistle, clocking up their second win of the day.
The afternoon finished with a third match with the teams mixed up together.
Centre Clare Goldsmith earned Back of the Day for some great support play, and a selection of the afternoon’s biggest tackles.
Loosehead Leigh Frost was awarded Forward of the Day for strength in the scrum and a series of determined ball carries.
Fellow prop Drea Lee also merits a special mention in dispatches for a great performance at tight head, before she had to come off injured.
Cheshunt Ladies deserve huge praise for the way they played in what was many players’ first ever match – Biggleswade Ladies know how daunting it is, after being in that position just a few short months ago. Huge thanks to hosts Cheshunt and fellow guests Royston for a fabulous afternoon of rugby played in a competitive but friendly spirit.
Biggleswade Ladies hold training sessions on Mondays and Fridays between 7.15pm and 9pm at Biggleswade Rugby Club on Langford Road. It’s free to try – click on the link to find out more: http://biggleswadeladiesrugby.co.uk
Photo Credit: pics by Carl Wolfende