Ladies finish friendly season with a win26th April 2018
Towcester Roses 10 – 12 Biggleswade Ladies (Friendly)
Biggleswade’s last friendly match of the season ended on a high with an away win at Towcester which included a couple of great Biggy tries.
Towcester have just finished top of their league, notching up some big wins along the way. They beat Biggleswade 17 – 10 at Langford Road near the start of the season, and the newly established Biggy Ladies’ side were keen to see if they could reverse the result in this return friendly.
The match began scrappily, with Biggleswade’s concentration levels a little wayward after a pre-game injury and positional swaps before the starting whistle and throughout the game.
Rumours were that the sight of a big yellow ball in the sky that some people were calling the sun may have distracted the Biggy players, who were forgetting some of the skills they have worked so hard building on over their first season of friendlies.
But there was no doubt that both sides were committed to full-on, hard-fought rugby. Scrums and big tackles dominated the first 40 minutes, rather than the running rugby the conditions were really calling out for. Biggleswade’s improved tackling across the whole team was the main reason the score remained at 0-0.
Biggy’s established No 9, Teri Taylor, injured her ribs when bringing down a Roses’ player in a tenacious tackle, with centre Claire Huckle stepping in to the unfamiliar scrum-half position towards the end of the first half, and Vicki Marshall also taking on the role for the first time after the break, both performing well in what was a tough game to try out something they’d not trained for.
A fiery half time talk from captain Charlie Field seemed to shake Biggy into action in the second period, and for a 20-minute spell, they won possession and territory, giving a much better account of themselves, and deservedly scored their first try – a textbook training pitch run-through move created by a good lineout throw from hooker Zaria Bettles, caught by flanker Sarah Ashby, taken down for a catch and drive, and delivered to the back of the maul for Vicki Marshall to spin pass it out to the waiting backs. Quick handling and a loop moved it along the line for Ellie Reeve to set up speedy winger Kat Miles, who raced over the line for Biggleswade’s first try.
Just a few minutes later, Biggleswade flanker Sarah Ashby scored an excellent individual try after breaking through from a ruck 30 metres from the Roses’ try line, and tearing down the pitch to place the ball between the posts. Fly-half Charlie Field converted, earning what proved to be a vital two points.
Tired bodies coupled with big hits on hard ground meant the merry-go-round of changes continued. Towcester took advantage of the interruptions as Biggleswade’s concentration lapsed and they lost some shape and momentum. The Roses ran in two good tries of their own (both unconverted) setting up a close finish.
The score remained at 12 – 10 to Biggy as the clock ran down, and just when it looked as if the Roses might have broken the gain line, Anna Kolańczyk put in a steamroller of a tackle to halt the attack, in what was practically the last move of the game.
Final score: Towcester Roses 10 – 12 Biggleswade Ladies.
Huge thanks to Towcester, who for the second time this season fielded a development squad that made for an evenly-matched and entertaining game that went right down to the wire.
Their praise and encouragement during the match awards’ speeches after the game was much appreciated.
Biggleswade Forward of the match was Sarah Ashby, for her fearsome leaping, rucking and breakaway try.
Back of the match was No 11 Steph Cooke, who played the full 80 minutes of her first ever game of rugby after only a handful of full-contact training sessions, and gave it her all.
A special mention must also go to tighthead prop Stacey Robinson, returning from a series of injuries which have seen her sidelined for six months, and who had worked so hard to return, only to injure her ankle badly in the warm-up. The team was gutted for her.
Captain Charlie Field paid tribute to coach Jimmy Caulfield, players, supporters, sponsors, physios, club staff and volunteers for all the hard work they’ve put in over the season resurrecting and developing Biggleswade Ladies’ Rugby Team.
“This win means that we have a record of 6 losses and 6 wins in the 12 friendlies we have played, an achievement we can be proud of,” said Charlie.
“Some of these friendlies have been against new sides like us, some against established teams’ development squads, and some against teams with county players who are several leagues a higher than where we hope to start from next season. It’s been a huge learning curve, and so useful; we’ve had game time and the chance to set a proper foundation to build on.
“We’d like to thank St Neots, Royston, Buckingham, Bishops Stortford, Cheshunt, Bletchley, Fullerians, and Towcester for all our fixtures, which have been so valuable for us as a new side.
“Here’s to next season!”
The new Biggleswade Ladies Rugby Team’s first season of full contact friendlies may be over, but summer training will be here soon (Mondays 7.30pm – 9pm, starting on May 21). It’s an ideal time to try rugby if you never have before – it changes to non-contact for the summer and it’s a great way to keep fit, build up the basic skills, and have a blast. There is also a fun mixed touch rugby league on Wednesday evenings at the club, starting on May 16. For more details, call Willy on 07952 066029.
Images courtesy of Tom Frost and Carl Wolfenden