Ladies give league leaders a real test7th March 2019
Biggleswade Ladies 0-15 St Neots Ladies
Biggleswade Ladies hosted league leaders St Neots at home on Sunday, in a fiercely-fought encounter in wet and windy conditions that turned on just a few key breaks.
Biggleswade resolutely refused to be intimidated by a side that had recently notched up some big scores. The home team deserve plaudits for their best defensive performance of the season, making St Neots fight hard to break through the line, and keeping the opposition at bay for almost the entirety of the first half. For a relatively low-scoring game, it was a fascinating contest and the final result did not fully reflect how closely-matched the two sides were on the day.
Biggleswade started the match in great fashion, getting in some big hits to let St Neots know how hard they were going to have to work. The visitors also proved to be a defensive force to be reckoned with, making it a great physical battle.
Biggy pressed up in defence and put real pressure on St Neots, with much of the first 40 minutes played on the visitors’ side of the centre line. Strong scrums (including two won against the head) and solid line-outs provided Biggy with a good platform, with captain and fly half Charlie Field making some well-placed safety kicks and territory-gaining kicks to touch.
Just as it looked as if Biggleswade had kept the top-of-the-league side from scoring a single first half point, St Neots nabbed a last minute try after an opportunistic charge-down from a Biggy kick. The unconverted try was a gut-punch for Biggy after such a strong first half performance, but a rousing team talk from assistant coach Damo ‘Clipboard’ White, taking over from Jimmy Caulfield for the afternoon, ensured that Biggleswade didn’t let their heads drop.
After the break, the wind and rain continued, forcing the teams to step in closer to prevent handling errors. The conditions, coupled with the two well-organised and ferocious defensive lines, meant both sets of backs didn’t get the chance to successfully work the ball out wide too often.
Both teams tried to smash their way through, with great efforts from strong ball carriers on each team. But time and time again, players were stopped in their tracks by big hits.
Biggleswade fielded their biggest squad of the season, but any plans to utilise fresh legs tactically were thwarted by injuries, with physio Ryan rumoured to have broken his Fitbit step count record running on and off the pitch.
Biggy injuries included a knocked knee, gashed lip, and a boot/eyeball integration incident, but the highlight (or should that be lowlight) was Anna ‘Tequila’ Kolanczyk and Claire ‘Chuckle’ Huckle deciding to headbutt eachother to put in strong early bids for Egg Head and Black Eye of The Season awards.
The intensity levels never dropped, but ultimately it wasn’t to be Biggy’s day.
A rare missed tackle on the blind side saw St Neots run in for their second try, and – with only a few minutes left in the game – the visitors made a break down the opposite wing, which led to their third and final score of the match.
Biggleswade’s Forward of the match was Connie McGinlay, for a bone-crunching prop’s performance, tackling like an express train and making some immensely strong carries.
Back of the Match was Chloe White for another couple of try-saving tackles and some pretty fierce rucking for a skinny littl’un.
Final Score: Biggleswade Ladies 0-15 St Neots Ladies
PHOTO CREDITS: Lineout pic by David Kay, other pics by Carl Wolfenden