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  • BIGGY LADIES SEE THE NEW YEAR IN WITH A WIN

    Biggleswade Ladies v Fullerians (Away)

    Fullerians 5 – 18 Biggleswade Ladies

    Biggy Ladies started the new year off with a league win when they travelled to Watford on Sunday for their first league game of 2019.

    Biggleswade began well, getting the basics right, gaining ground with strong forward carries and rucking.

    Kayleigh Jean – a star netball player in her other sporting life, but the ladies try not to hold that against her – scored a quick, early try after the ball was passed out wide to her on the wing. She almost nabbed her second soon after, breaking the sound barrier chasing a well-placed kick from captain and fly-half Charlie Field, and forcing Fullers to make a try-saving tackle by the corner flag.

    Biggy kept up the pressure, pinning Fullerians in their half for the first quarter of the game.

    Set pieces were working well, with solid scrums and the front three of Jo Treverton, Zaria Bettles and Leigh Frost looking strong.

    Charlie slotted away a penalty to make the score 8-0. But Biggy were also giving away penalties, and a succession of niggly little errors gave Fullers the opportunity to kick their way into Biggleswade’s half.

    The home team’s first period of sustained pressure in the danger area resulted in them running in a try to make the score 5-8.

    Charlie dived to attempt to tackle the Fullers’ player before she scored, instead managing to ‘nose-butt’ the opposition player’s metal studs. The face/boot combination resulted in a trip to hospital, and a dual diagnosis of concussion and a broken nose.

    The injury meant Biggleswade, already playing with a few players in unfamiliar positions, had to switch things round, with Teri Taylor moving in from centre to take over the No 10 role, Nikki Plater in at 13, and Steph Cooper going across to 12.

    The second half had a frustrating mixture of great rugby and scrappy play.

    Without any seeming malicious intent, a series of high tackles (from both sides) meant the ref was forced to finally reach for his yellow, sin-binning Fullers’ No 15.

    Biggy took advantage with some good pressure. A set-piece highlight was a line-out maul where they shoved their way up the pitch and towards the line, making a tremendous amount of ground, but the team should have backed themselves to go all the way, with their efforts coming to nothing when the ball was passed out and the backs’ move broke down.

    Biggy kept plugging away, and it wasn’t long before a great scrum led to quick ball from No 9 Holly Crawford out to Kayleigh on the wing again, who ran over to get her second try of day, making it 13-5.

    Sloppy defensive organisation gave Fullers their chance to gain momentum with Biggy wingers Kayleigh and Chloe White both having to to chase and tackle, and full back Anna ‘Consonants’ Kolancyzk on an impressive mission to do more sweeping up than Cinderella.

    Fullers gained ground and got ominously close to Biggy’s tryline. Biggy were scrabbling back, and left it until the ball was just a metre out to finally get themselves in formation. But they stepped up, stayed strong and defended under huge pressure for several phases, holding up Fullers just inches from the posts. It was a great defensive team effort.

    Fullerians then provided a mirror-image defensive wall at the other end of the field, with Biggleswade pinning the home side on their line for what seemed like an age, and excellent defending holding up marauding flanker Sarah Ashby, preventing her from grounding.

    On a day when several chances went begging, Biggy did have one more score in them. A break by Anna was brought to a halt just short of the tryline, and Holly picked and went from the ensuing ruck to steal a well-deserved try and seal the victory 18-5.

    Forward of the Match went to Amy Schiller (sponsored by Peaches & Cream Beauty), for another immense performance at No 8, while Back of the Match went to Teri Taylor (sponsored by Royal Images Ltd), who stepped up to take over No 10 duties for her injured captain.

    Special mentions go to:

    • Biggy prop – and professional Geordie – Drea Lee for ‘most surprised game face’ when a Fullers’ player threw a ball at the ground in frustration, and it rebounded straight at Drea’s head (at least we think that’s what happened, as we cannot always understand what Drea is saying).
    • Nikki Plater, who played her first ever league game and scored a wonderful try on the wing. If only the ref hadn’t spotted that there had been a forward pass!
    • Steph Cooper, returning to the backs, who made some great crashing runs in the centre.
    • Beverley ‘Iron Woman’ Horsefield, who took a ‘bit of a knock’ at the start of the game, gritted her teeth, played through, and now has her hand in a cast.
    • Ellie Reeve for being official hospital companion for Charlie (and the only one with sufficient sympathy having been through her own nightmare injury scenario last year).

    Biggleswade’s next match is away to Hammersmith & Fulham Ladies II in the fourth round of the RFU Women’s Junior Cup on Sunday January 20.