Olney Girls win again
By Jacquie Ladyman
Olney Girls v Buckingham Cygnets
Olney hosted Buckingham on Sunday, along with a couple of girls from Bletchley. In Olney’s first matches in September we played Buckingham twice, losing 10 and 8-1. So this opener for the second half of the season was a good opportunity to see how far the girls have progressed. The team was; Jess (captain), Lottie, Bethany, Charlie, Amma, Eva, Hollie, Mimi, Hattie, Ella and Molly, assisted by Amy and Katie from Bletchley.
We played three matches during the session. It took Olney some time to get going in the first game. One of our strengths in recent weeks has been our aggressive rucking game but we failed to get this working. This put us under pressure and, although our defence was excellent, Buckingham scored via their strong running second row. We continued to bring players down, but then lost the breakdown contest. With ball in hand we proved difficult to stop but couldn’t quite get the offloads away. The half time score was 2-0 and after the break Olney sharpened up, despite making an awful mess of the kick off return. Some brave defence from Hattie and Charlie stopped Buckingham in midfield, but we shipped a try towards the end to lose 3-0. A special mention to Katie from Bletchley who, in her first ever game of rugby, put in two huge tackles.
The second game was Olney’s best game of the season. Rucking and counter-rucking, not easy when only two players are allowed into the ruck, gave us quality ball. This in turn put our power runners Jess and Amma into space and they grabbed the opportunity, making huge yards. Eva moved in from her normal wing position and stepped elegantly through midfield. Olney scored a couple of early tries but Buckingham are a good team and began to come back into the game. This was helped by Olney kicking some possession away unnecessarily, as with ball in hand we were making good yards. The teams traded scores, with Molly and Bethany saving the day on a couple of occasions.
Mimi scored a great individual try beating three opposition players with her footwork. Buckingham scored with the last play of the game, but Olney came out winners 5-3. This was a stunning result, especially for those who have watched the team from its rebirth. Special mention to Lottie who, having played well for Olney, guested for Buckingham when injuries reduced their numbers and nearly scored.
The final game saw two tired teams slug it out, although Olney nearly gave up a try from the restart, Mimi touching down in goal to foil a great kick chase. 0-0 at half time, Buckingham scored a couple of tries in the second half, with Olney kicking well to clear our lines and relieve pressure. Once again our rucking and scrummaging was strong, with Ella getting heavily involved and Hollie again showing great strength in both attack and defence.
Whilst on paper one win and two defeats may not seem the greatest return, the improvement over September was exponential. Buckingham have 50 players in their girls’ section to Olney’s 11.
All the girls played well, with Jess and Amma in particular doing great work. Girl of the match was Mimi, however, who showed an excellent all round game and incredible strength in shrugging off defenders.”