Girls versus Towcester ll
By Jacquie Ladyman
Girls travel to Towcester
The girls travelled to Towcester for their second match of the season against the hosts, only another 4 to go! Preparations were interrupted by the realisation that there had been a pitch reshuffle and if we stayed put we’d be playing Towcester Ladies. Knowing the Olney girls they’d have been up for it. As an aside, the Ladies had moved pitches because Towcester Colts had priority on the first team pitch....apparently if you let your ladies’ firsts play on the firsts pitch they might start wanting the Vote or something.
Rant over, back to rugby. We played three “halves” of ten minutes each. Towcester deservedly won all three, but Olney improved with each game. We were missing Mimi and Amma, two of the best performers in recent weeks. To be fair, Towcester also had a couple of girls new to rugby. Unfortunately they also had 4 big strong runners in midfield who proved difficult to stop.
The team was Jess, Eva, Lottie, Hattie, Hollie, Bethany, Charlie, Ella and Molly.
We got off to the worst of starts when Lottie, our stand in kicker (sorry about last week’s match report Lottie!) chased her own kick and took a blow to the face. Despite the fact she was hosing blood from her nose and mouth, play was allowed to continue and Towcester scored after 58 seconds. With no subs both teams reduced numbers and play calmed down. We then suffered a further injury blow when Hollie had to come off having taken a severe knock to the knee. Play was further delayed when one of the Towcester girls was taken off having been taken out by one of her team mates in a move last seen in Mortal Kombat. Eventually a game of rugby broke out, but not in Olney’s favour. With ball in hand we played reasonably well, although losing it more in contact than in previous weeks. All the players made yards and we moved the ball, albeit squandering a couple of overlaps. Highlight of the match was a stunning solo try from Molly, who made a curving run through the defence and touched down, beating 4 defenders on the way. This was one of several good runs from this fast improving player.
Game 2 was a fractious affair. Both teams would have done better to focus on their rugby and, when they played, there were some good moves. Olney held their own much better, rucking more aggressively and supporting each other. Our kryptonite remained first up tackling. This has improved beyond recognition from September but it is too often grabbing rather than shoulder in. To bring down strong fast players needs a proper tackle.
Game 3 saw some better hits going in with Jess leading the way. Eva did well filling in at fullback and made some of her famous dancing feet runs, being rewarded with a great try at the end. Our attacking was in general much improved and we were unlucky to ship two “three pointers” where we knocked on with the line at our mercy, only to see Towcester collect the loose ball and score at the other end. Both Hollie and Lottie returned to the fray and played well, Hollie in particular putting herself into the places where it hurts.
Whilst defeat is never good, it’s what you learn from it that matters. This is a team that has a big heart and never gets downhearted, even when things aren’t going well. This was in evidence on Sunday when the girls played their best rugby in the final game when some teams would have given up. Strong leadership across the team, from Jess at captain, Hattie at scrum half (and occasional kicker), Eva at fullback and Bethany on the wing all influenced things. The front row of Charlie, Lottie and Ella continues to scrummage well and we saw some brave (and occasionally suicidal) work on the ground from Hollie.
It remains an absolute privilege to coach this enthusiastic and fast-learning group of girls, all of whom continue to improve and give their all week by week.