On Sunday 30th October the NLD U15 & U18 Girls Squads went to Wellingborough RFC to line up in the first round of this year’s representative fixtures.
The first match for the U18’s was East Midlands. The NLD girls had a hesitant start and found themselves defending in their own 22 which inevitably resulted in East Midlands scoring the first of their tries. Despite putting together some good phases of play NLD found themselves conceding a further 2 quick tries into their corners because of E. Midlands’ determined running. NLD dominated East Midlands in the scrum as well as winning most of the line-outs however they were unable to exploit their advantage and with East Midlands quicker into the breakdown, found themselves defending several turnover balls.
Even though the score might suggest otherwise the game was quite evenly match around the field with NLD making several threatening breaks around the field but just not quite managing to translate all their effort into a score. The first half ended 24/0.
Five minutes into the second half and NLD were making some good running lines into East Midlands half and with NLD turning up the pressure the defence finally cracked allowing Jess Weaver to run 30 metres, only to be stopped 5 metres from their line. Megan Warsop, running a great support line, was able to carry the ball over the line to score NLD’s only points of the match. Despite a dominant NLD scrum, and a more evenly matched 2nd half, NLD were unable to get back inside the East Midlands 22 and finished the match 38/5.
With a virtually unchanged side NLD girls ran out against Leicestershire in what promised to be a more evenly match game. The NLD Girls were perhaps still reeling from the tough encounter with East Midlands and conceeded an early try having defended a spirited Leicestershire attack. NLD managed to score the first of their 2 tries, by Ella Turlukowsky, approximately 5 minutes before half time. Unfortunately, the match had to be stopped and moved to an adjacent pitch when one of the NLD forwards sustained a shoulder injury. The resultant 10 minute hiatus did little to improve the continuity of play from both sides and the first half finished 5/5.
Having had time to regroup both sides came out fighting and battle commenced in midfield for control of the game. Once again the NLD scrum dominated their opposition but the attacking platform was not utilised to best advantage from either side and both defence held firm until Leicestershire spotted a gap making a 20 metre break for the NLD line. NLD managed to counter later in the half to equal the scores with a determined run from Sohie Hill on the wing. Unfortunately, with time running out Leicestershire again managed to exploit a gap in the NLD defence and ran in the winning try. Full time score 15/10.
We are away at Lichfield on Sunday 20.11.16 where we look to on Staffordshire U18’s in a full 70 minute match. Girls are reminded to attend training at Southwell on the 18.11.16 and that all squad places are open to selection.
23 U15 girls made the trip to Wellingborough all having worked hard to obtain their place in the playing squad. First up came the prospect of a strong East Midlands side and the NLD girls were keen to get their campaign off to a good start. Straight from the kick off NLD put East Midlands under pressure with some direct running and effective contact work and it wasn’t long before Abigail Hammond crossed the line for the first try which was converted by Jessica Brown.
The girls recognised the space available on the wide pitch and the East Midlands try line was breached again before the half with a score from Georgina Tasker (conv. Brown).
The NLD squad had a blend of girls who’d experienced CB matches before, those who’d made the jump from the development squad and some who were new to representative rugby but you would not have known from the sidelines. Changes were made by the coaches at half time to ensure that all the players got some game time but NLD kept their shape and carried on playing at a high tempo.
After the half East Midlands regrouped and put some pressure on the NLD defence but they couldn’t break through, 3 further tries from Abigail Hammond, Jessica Brown and Kate Chittenden followed with 2 conversions from Brown and the game ended 33 – 0.
After a 40 minute break they NLD girls regrouped to face a Leicestershire side that dwarfed the NLD girls. The break had obviously taken its toll as a line break from Leicestershire and some good support play saw them cross the NLD try line in the corner after only 2 minutes of play. An immediate response was required and delivered by the NLD girls with Kate Chittenden crossing the line after some good build up play. The girls recognised that Leicestershire were playing a very narrow game and relying on the size of their forwards and the obvious solution of using the wide channels presented itself, tries from Rebecca Church and Georgina Tasker followed and confidence again grew.
Halftime came and again allowed the opposition to regroup and come back at the NLD girls with all guns blazing, however some structured forward play and pressure from a quick defensive line forced a number of turn overs and took the sting out of the fight back. Again NLD began to exert their dominance. A second try from Kate Chittenden and tries for Abigail Hammond and Molly Thornton with 3 conversions from Brown finished off the game with a final score of 36 – 5 .
The coaches and the girls were pleased with their performance on the day and they had a good test against two strong sides. All the girls in the squad stepped up and did NLD proud.
A single game against Staffordshire awaits on the next CB weekend and the girls will be challenged to maintain their intensity and focus over a full 70 minute game.
The NLD U15 & U18 Girls Squads now travel to Litchfield RFC on Sunday 20th November to play Staffordshire. All Girls in both squads should attend the next training session on Friday 18th November at Southwell RFC.
Match Reports: U18 – Neil Clack / U15 – Neil Whitehead