Sunday 15th saw Tunbridge Wells U18s Ladies travel to Aylesford to play in a cup competition for the honour of moving onto the next stage of the national cup.
Apart from the cup itself, there where bragging rights at stake as Aylesford had won the league game earlier in the season with a last minute try, so this was going to be a tough game.
From the very outset it was clear that Aylesford game plan was to use their powerful forwards coming off the ruck close or hitting hard into the 10 channel and so ensued an initial 10-15 minute ‘arm wrestle’ where Aylesford ran hard into the TWells defence which held and on occasions pushed them back. As the great wizard Gandalf said ‘you shall not pass’ and they did not!
We as a group have been working on getting the ball out to our strong running backs and away from any congestion / trouble in close and this is exactly what we did. Due to great defence, turnover ball was won, ball out to the backs and try’s where taken with direct running, running into space and above all support was there, you could see the excitement rise from the crowd every time we did this.
In the first half credit went to the forwards who worked hard in defence and then when in attack got into our patterns and sucked in Aylesford defence allowing the backs to do just as important a job in taking the right decision and working hard in support. Some of the game pattern play was great to watch.
Line outs worked well and although we were under pressure in the scrum, we worked very hard every time and did enough to get the ball out and into hands where we looked strong all day.
At half time we were 27-0 up and looking good although the momentum was always going to swing towards Aylesford and in the second half this is what happened.
Possibly down to the hard work in defence, causing some tired legs and minds (more fitness I hear ollie shout), coupled with some easy penalties against us and that we probably took a step back with intensity and concentration, Aylesford found themselves in our 22 a few times and with their forwards they kept knocking on the door which ultimately and reluctantly opened where three tries were conceded, the last being the very last play of the game (17 points to Aylesford). Despite this, it was not all one way in the second half as we returned the favour with two converted try ourselves one through the forwards and one out to the wing and a straight race to the line which we won.
The game ended 41 – 17 to Wells a very well deserved win against a side which always is strong and will never give up.
Obviously things to work on – line speed in defence, quicker ruck ball and driving passed / over the ball in the ruck, letting the ball do the work – it’s quicker and easier to pass and support, making sure we have our strong forwards defending rucks rather than our smallest backs, fitness …..Ahhh!
As always I find it very difficult to single out individual players because this is a team sport and when one player works really hard to make a tackle or turn a ball over so a fellow player can run into space and sometime score out wide, it’s hard to give the plaudits to any one player, it’s the actions of everyone which allows the winger to run in un-challenged for example.
So with that in mind.… well done to the thrown together hard working front row, the hard working second row and back row catching kicks, making massive tackles and clearing out rucks, taking the ball into contact and making sure it came back cleanly, the 9-10 partnership making correct decisions