Girls continue winning form against Towcester
By Jacquie Ladyman
The girls hosted Towcester on Sunday, the first time we’ve met them with home advantage.
Small squad sizes and a building injury crisis meant that both teams were struggling to field a full side. We played three games, with Towcester lending Olney a player for each match. Olney had secured our first ever win against Tows the week before. For perspective, in the girls first ever matches in September we were thrashed 10-0 and 8-1 by the same outfit.
The first game saw Olney get off to an excellent start. Our rucking and support play were very strong, so when we had possession it was very hard for Towcester to win it back. Our tackling was hit and miss to start with as was the kicking, which to be fair was into a howling gale. Towcester have a lot of year 8 girls whereas the Olney squad is biased towards year 7. So size and strength do play a part. One player who wasn’t in the slightest fazed by this mismatch was Charlie, who stepped in at first receiver on numerous occasions and slammed into contact. Her hooking in the scrum also contributed a number of strikes against the head, plus contributing a try. Jess continued to break the line despite a lingering back issue and showed sensible captaincy. Mimi continued to make yards and tackles, playing in a more central role than her normal fullback position. Amma, who continues to make excellent progress, showed some serious wheels in both attack and defence. With Olney turning the screw from the start of the game the result was never in doubt. A couple of defensive lapses saw Towcester peg us back, but we returned the scores with interest and had one “try” disallowed due to unclear grounding. The game finished 4-3 in our favour.
The second match continued in the same vein, although Tows came out fighting. Literally for one girl, who put in a trip on Jess. There then followed the first pony tail pull of the season on Mimi. The first rule of Fight Club is, you don’t mess with the pony tail. This was a game where Hattie stepped up her tackling and made some chunky hits, also showing good mobility in getting around the park, including a try. The rest of the pack continued to resist the bigger opposition forwards in the ruck and maul and managed to choke tackle a couple of times to win the maul. Again, this was a match where Olney had the upper hand for most of the match, despite losing Jess to injury during it. Final score was 4-2 to Olney.
The last match was reduced to a 7’s game due to injuries on both sides. The wind got up and Olney made the mistake of kicking to the strongest runner on the opposition team, who cut through our defence and scored. From the kick off we repeated the dose and she scored again. Mimi is such an excellent kicker, but even she can’t kick and chase all her own stuff, so broken field play is something the whole team need to work on. After these setbacks Olney got right back into the game and levelled the score. The teams exchanged tries until a tiring Olney defence was pulled out of shape by a great run from one of the Towcester forwards, who flipped out an excellent offload to put her colleague in. Final score 6-5 to Towcester.
So, a winning day against Towcester, something that was unimaginable even at Christmas. The return of Mollie had a great effect, her wise head and long stride making great yards and putting her into excellent positions in both defence and attack. She would be an asset to any team, scoring 3 tries on the day. Hollie followed up her all action performance last week with a typically robust fledgling flanker show, chasing lost causes and winning them. These wins were also without regular stalwarts in Eva, Lottie, Ella and Bethany.
The two standout players this week were Amma and Mimi. They are two of the best on the circuit and we perhaps take their quality for granted sometimes. Mimi’s tackle count is amazing and she outkicks the rest of the league. Three tries on the day says a lot about her all round skill. Definitely a fly half of the future. In a fixture where there’s no love lost, to see two of the opposition’s top players approach her afterwards to congratulate her on her performance takes some doing. Amma leaps forward each week. She is astonishingly quick which, combined with her strength and skill, terrifies opposition backs, leading to 5 scores on the day. Now that she has added an offload to her armoury all the others have to do is catch her to take the pass! Defensively, when she hits you, you stay hit.
So, a great day all round. Fair play to Towcester for entering into the spirit and lending a player, it was a good sporting gesture and much appreciated. 17th March sees the open day and recruitment session for the girls. Please spread the word!