Banbury Belles Reverse Welsh Fortunes !
After a thumping 49-12 defeat away to Coventry Welsh earlier in the season, the Belles were determined to go out to prove a point or three on Sunday!
DCS Stadium at Bodicote Park – Sunday 18th February 2018
Match report by Keeli Wood.
The Belles received from the kick off and started the game as they meant to go on with lethally well executed phases from the forwards. Coventry Welsh stood up well under the pressure initially and the first ten were a stalemate.
A quick tap and go penalty from fly-half Keeli Wood found gaps in a slow retreating defender to score the first points for the Belles, Lucy Gardner converting to make it 7-0.
Welsh came back strongly but a steadfast Belles wall of defence meant sniping on the fringes to make any ground up the pitch. After a tense few minutes of grinding up the pitch Welsh did dot down in the corner. 7-5 Banbury.
Lack of discipline from some of the Belles resulted in Wood getting binned. But despite having a numbers disadvantage the girls dug deep and Alice Hammersley crashed through four defenders to score. 14-5 Banbury.
With a comfortable 9 point lead the Belles settled down to wait out the 4 mins left on the clock. Welsh took advantage in a lapse in concentration from the defence and with a beautiful line the 12 broke the gain line to score under the posts. 14-12 Banbury.
A full 15 back on the pitch and the Belles hit the restart hard, forcing a scrum straight away. Scrappy ball in the backs lead to Welsh gaining possession and once more the Belles were forced to defend. With their forwards comfortably contained, Welsh sought space in the backs. However, some quick tackling and counter-rucking from Belles backs Catriona Rollason and Leanne Britain allowed Hammersley to ship the ball blind to Wood who cruised under the posts. 21-12 Banbury.
Despite Coventry Welsh’s best efforts, no more points were scored before the half time whistle.
Empowered by the score-line the Belles came roaring out the blocks, pressuring the visitors right from the restart, winning balls at ruck and scrum time, yet more outstanding phases from the forwards gave the backs room to run some very polished moves allowing Wood to score under the posts again. 28-12.
The opposition were starting to show their frustration at being stifled at every turn but a very nice break from their 7 parked them on the 5m line and a scrum to them in injury stoppage time allowed the Welsh number 8 to crash over the line. 28-19.
But Banbury had their eyes on the prize and a very nice offload out of contact from Ali Knight allowed Wood to find Leanne Britain and Siobhan Cummings on the outside who, with very casual interplay, made easy work of the Welsh defence. 35-19.
To their credit Welsh kept fighting back but the Belles had found their stride now and refused to be flustered. Taking advantage of a penalty for a high tackle on a line break by Charlie Eggleton, Skipper Mel Beckerleg took a quick tap and go to blitz through the defence and dot down. 40-19.
The Belles were proving to be relentless dominating possession and with the clock ticking down Coventry Welsh were just looking to minimise the damage. Hard lines and good strong carries from the forwards gave the Belles a huge overlap, but the back line was in complete disarray! Britain stepped up at first receiver, offloading to Wood who found Gardner in the clear. Full time and a convincing 45-19 win for the Famous Banbury Belles.
Man of the match went to full back Lucy Gardner who not only had an outstanding game but contributed 17 points to the scoreboard.