Girls complete hat-trick of wins
By Jacquie Ladyman
Olney vs Biggleswade & Bedford
Olney girls travelled to Biggleswade on Sunday to play a combined Biggleswade and Bedford team, or "Biggeford" as they're known. We had lost several key players to injury, travel and girl flu, but travelled with a strong team. An eloquent demonstration of team spirit was that Ella, who was injured, travelled from Northampton to watch and support her teammates. The team has put in some hard (and cold) yards in Wednesday training and it showed in the focussed warm up. As is normal we played three matches of 20 minutes each.
Disaster struck almost from the kick off of Game 1, when the opposition sliced through our kick chase and, after a couple of phases, scored under the posts. The girls then rolled up their sleeves and went to work. 16 phases later, Olney touched down to level the scores. This was an excellent demonstration of all the training the girls have done. Aggressive rucking, options for the scrum half, close support play and hard running. From that point Olney were in control of the match, although the opposition hung in there. Amma broke the line regularly as did Jess, with fine support work from the rest of the team. Our restart play was excellent, with Mimi and Amma scoring straight from the catch on a couple of occasions. Wherever the opposition kicked, there was an Olney girl returning the pressure with interest. All this despite some shocking decisions against Olney by the (Olney) referee. The match finished 8-3 in Olney's favour.
The second game started in similar fashion, with Olney leaking a try right at the start. This was to prove a flash in the pan, however, as the screws were turned and attack after attack threatened the line. This was a game for the unsung heroines, girls who don't normally see as much ball but who took the match by the throat. Charlie took several against the head as the stand-in hooker and made some excellent yards, being held up centimetres short of her first try for the club. Molly showed beautiful footwork on the wing including a solo try, having just returned from a foot injury. Her step inside two defenders to free a scoring pass was one to remember. Hollie, who seems to grow a centimetre a week at present, scored two tries and was all over the pitch working hard. Hattie, forced into the pack from scrum half, put in her best tackles of the season and did some strong running through the centre. She also had to be pulled up for the "Brock handoff" , sadly still illegal until u15s. Mimi continued her scoring trend, several of her runs earning applause from the crowd.
The final member of the team, Eva, continued her amazing transition from quiet winger scoring tries for the boys team to Action Girl in the centres. Her support play is excellent and she has become our midfield general. The dam broke towards the end of the second game and, despite some brave defence we began to score with almost every possession. The match finished 10-3.
The final game was a ten minute affair against an understandably tired team. Olney began to score freely from the kick off. One of the best aspects of the whole day was support play, with Olney often having a free runner overlapping both left and right of the try scorer. The final score was 6-0 to Olney. Jess, as ever, led and motivated the team as skipper and led by example.
It should be remembered that Olney were narrowly defeated by this opposition in our first meeting back in September. The players are unrecognisable from that day, their skill levels and teamwork having improved enormously. What hasn't improved is their desire and camaraderie, which has been 100% from day 1.
The girls are training at home on Sunday 3rd February with some new recruits for next season. All girls in years 6, 7, 8 or 9 are welcome to attend.