The NLD U15 & U18 Girls Matches got underway on Sunday 15th November at Lutterworth RFC with the annual CB Festival.
NLD U15 Girls
This year’s NLD U15 squad made their way to Lutterworth as defending champions having been unbeaten last season.
The first match was against North Midlands who played well but were overpowered by an NLD team that rucked, scrummaged and ran the ball very successfully and when required tackled and defended well. Teamwork between the forwards and backs right across the pitch throughout the game saw Jessica Weaver run in 2 tries and Bess Heath ran in a 3rd great team try. Jessica Brown converted one giving NLD a 17-0 win and the bonus of a clean sheet.
Game 2 saw NLD meet a very well drilled and very strong East Midlands side who had a much stronger and bigger line up. NLD conceded an early try due to loss of concentration and a couple of missed tackles. The girls fought back and despite plenty of pressure on East Midlands were just unable to break the defence of the opposition. East Midlands applied a great deal of pressure throughout the game and there were several try saving tackles made by the girls. Open play saw an impact which resulting in Beth Leivers having to leave the pitch after medical treatment and unfortunately meant no further participation in the Festival. The final result was a 5-0 defeat.
Having won one and lost one NLD girls faced the winners of the other group, Staffordshire, in the semi –final. The girls came out all guns blazing and the team dominated playing to the potential that showed in the first game. Solid tackles and heads up play showed a very commanding performance and Jessica Weaver popped up for another 2 tries and Heidi Seaton ran in a 3rd giving a 15-0 win which was well deserved win and a place in the Final, a rematch with East Midlands.
Injuries on pitches saw a delay in the start of the final but it kicked off at a high tempo with both sides playing hard attacking rugby and very strong defence. The previous defeat fired up the NLD girls and they really stepped up putting lots of the coached play into action and this time took the control and never let East Midlands get back. Jessica Weaver ran in 2 more tries built from good team play right up the pitch and Heidi Seaton ran in another with Jessica Brown and Jessica Weaver each getting a conversion. East Midlands, who played very well, scored a late try and that gave NLD a 19-5 win and for the second year Festival winners.
Martin Kerrigan (u15 head coach) commented “It was great to see the squad development over the last few weeks training. The commitment and the effort from the whole squad paid off with a fantastic team performance”
Report: Neil Speechley – NLD U15 Girls Manager
NLD U18 Girls
NLD U18’s came away from Lutterworth RFU CB Festival battered and bruised but ultimately victorious.
The girls played 3 games over the course of the day starting with N.Mids, putting up a very good show, with spirited defence and incisive attacking play but ultimately the relative inexperience of this young squad showed and N.Mids were able to power over the line 3 times in the first half. With shortened game times due to festival rules the NLD girls left themselves a mountain to climb and ultimately couldn’t claw back the first half score. N. MIds finished the game by putting a further 2 try past NLD. Final score N. Mids 6 tries NLD 0.
Battered and somewhat bruised the NLD U18’s returned to the pitch having had a long cold break of play and lined up against E. Mids. The game started with E.Mids scoring a quick try but settled down to a war of attrition with NLD coming out slightly on top though again unable to break what was to prove a very good defence. E. Mids scored a second try but NLD countered scoring in the corner; 2 tries to 1 at half time… all to play for. NLD came out blasting for the E.Mids tryline and narrowly failed to even the score before E. Mids ran in a cheeky try of their own in the corner having put NLD girls under pressure for 5 minutes. Final score E. Mids 3 tries NLD 1.
Last game of the day and NLD girls stepped up to play Chester, guests at this year’s festival. This game was played as 20 minute halves. From the off NLD’s back three made inroads into Chesters defence putting Chester on the back foot. Continued pressure from the forwards paid off with NLD scoring just wide of the posts. The girls were now playing as a team, looking for holes in Chesters defence, competing in the rucks and generally running them around the field. With good use of the ball NLD finished the first half with 4 unanswered tries and it showed in the girls faces with smiles from ear to ear. The second half saw Chester putting NLD under pressure in the first few minutes which culminated in their only try of the game, a good run through by their scrum half in the corner. NLD countered with some fine flowing rugby and scored 2 more times before settling back to soak up Chester’s attack in the last 3 to 4 minutes of the game. The held and with the final whistle blown NLD claimed their first victory of the season. Final score Chester 1 try NLD 6.