COMBATIVE BIGGY BEAT BISHOP’S STORTFORD8th February 2019
Biggleswade Ladies 14 -12 Bishop’s Stortford Ladies
Spectators at Langford Road were treated to a hard-fought ladies match with a nail-bitingly close scoreline on Sunday.
Biggleswade had the lion’s share of possession and territory but a strong defensive performance from Stortford meant that Biggy had to battle for every point.
Biggy showed their determination from the kick-off, with 20 minutes of almost unbroken pressure in their opposition’s half. They were dominant in the scrums, despite having two backs playing unfamiliar forward roles due to a unlucky run of recent injuries.
The home side also managed to feed the ball out to their back line – which linked up well, considering how many players were out of position – but initially, hands down the line weren’t quick enough, allowing Stortford’s defence the time to press up and tackle.
Biggleswade refused to let up, deserving a reward for all their hard work. The first points of the day came after some strong forward work, where the ball was ripped from an opposing player and passed out wide at speed, allowing winger Kayleigh Jean to use her pace to full effect. She belted down the pitch, stepped inside to race past the last line of defence and place the ball under the posts for captain Charlie Field to calmly convert. It was a great try – and one highlight of an excellent performance from Kayleigh, who also chased down several breakaway runs by Stortford’s speedy winger (all whilst nursing a broken finger sustained in a netball match earlier that day. We keep telling her those netball girls are too rough…)
Stortford’s defence had been breached, and they responded well, putting pressure in turn on Biggleswade, and running in a try of their own before half time, making the score 7-5 to Biggy at the turnaround.
Biggy came out all guns firing, apart from hooker Carolyn ‘Willy’ Drake’s lineouts, which only became straight once her shoulder had been sat on by several players in a ruck. A simulation of this will now be performed during every Biggy warm-up.
The match continued to be fiercely contested, with some big hits being put in by both teams. After a forensic examination of one enormous bruise on the leg of No 8 Amy Schiller, scientists concluded that what looked initially like stud marks were in fact consistent with a bite from a giant alligator.
Both teams defended periods of intense pressure on their own try lines, with an impressive Biggy counter-maul pushing Stortford metres back from a promising position.
Despite this, the visitors took the lead for the first time in the match, taking the score to 7-12, leaving Biggleswade desperate to get the points they felt they deserved from the game. Biggy were determined not to repeat last season’s friendly result, when they played Stortford away and lost out 12-10 in another close contest.
Sure enough, Biggy grit won through in the 77th minute, after relentless forward pressure finally broke through the Stortford line, with borrowed Fullerians player Jess Davies finishing off to score underneath the posts, giving Charlie the opportunity to convert again. The final three minutes seemed endless, but Biggleswade held out to run out 14-12 winners.
Forward of the match went to Anna Kolańczyk, (previously a centre and full back) who proved herself to be a ferocious flanker. It was an impressive performance after some hasty and head-scratching ‘Introduction To Forwards’ training on Friday night when injuries forced a rewrite of the team sheet.
Back of the match went to centre Claire Huckle, for a hugely courageous game, returning to the fray after some time off. She ran some great aggressive lines, tackling and shrieking like a banshee (you may have heard her distinctive war cry from several miles away).
The entire team deserves plaudits for pulling together, playing in unfamiliar positions, and never giving up, but a special mention goes to Captain Charlie, who got her long-awaited dream to try out the forward life, put in a massive tackle count, and slotted two from two conversions under intense pressure, thereby securing the win.
Final Score: Biggleswade Ladies 14 -12 Bishop’s Stortford Ladies
PHOTO CREDIT: PICTURES BY DAVID KAY