Sodbury Demonstrate True Determination with Depleted Numbers
Bout of Injuries leaves the Ladies limping
When your list of unavailability is longer than that of availability, it’s going to be a tough weekend. With Sodbury suffering a string of recent key positional injuries, the team had to dig deep in order to field the full 15 against a thriving Devizes RFC and without a single sub it was always going to be a challenge.
Having beaten the opposition in both their home and away fixtures last time the two teams met Sodbury were confident contenders however with a number of the team out of position and an early exit from utility player Becky Anstey due to head injury, the team quickly dropped to 14 without replacement and Devizes quickly took advantage of an unsettled Sodbury side. Unleashing a notably improved and drilled method of attack on a weakened defensive line, the home team used strong runners to force gaps in defence using quick paced support play to score unchallenged runaway tries in quick succession.
Despite struggling to obtain or retain much possession, Sodbury’s first convincing show of attack came when the ball found its way into the hands of failsafe Alana Sealey Grant who stormed through numerous defensive tackles towards the oppositions 22. It therefore came as a huge blow that this resulted in a knock to an existing injury forcing her off the pitch reducing numbers even further.
Now short in the forwards the position of Flank was to be filled for the following Scrums and the back line worked tirelessly to fill in the gaps causing a running joke at the breakdowns, but joking aside Devizes once again utilising their obvious advantage punished Sodbury even further widening the already growing gap. Sodbury were not going down without a fight however and having made their way to the home teams try line went on a barrage of forwards attack. Battering at a strong defensive line Sodbury’s first attempt to ground the ball was held up but camping on the line Prop Michelle Deverill peeled away and with options on either side set the ball for a second pod to finally crash over the line with Sam Poulton grounding the ball for their first points of the game towards the end of the first half.
The Second half saw a new determination for Sodbury and whilst Devizes were not without their renowned aggression the ladies did well not to rise to these tactics and concentrated on the game at hand keeping out the onslaught that had ensued in the first forty minutes with exceptional tackling notably from Flanker and man of the match Becky Petchey who’s work rate was second to none across the park.
With 14 back on the pitch but scrummaging now uncontested, an improved defensive structure allowed Devizes to add only two tries to the current score and with frustration evident they began to concede a large amount of penalties allowing Sodbury to build a new platform. From this the back line were able to use the legs and before long a swift planned move saw them powering towards the try line only to be stopped just short by a good covering tackle on the wing.
With the pressure building emotions did too and Sodbury were shocked when in an attempt to thwart a charging run from a Devizes forward in a David and Goliath type situation, Winger Terri Earl took a punch to the face - something which we can only compare to kicking a puppy - but the team rallied round to turn the aggression into something positive by earning some well-deserved extra points.
After a long stint of defensive efforts from every member of the team and some try saving tackles by Ria Jefferson Gleed, Sodbury found the ball in their possession and a slick backs move saw them charging up the openside towards the try line once more. Unfortunately, having been awkwardly caught this resulted in the loss of a centre and back down to 13 players but the momentum continued and after a huge push up the park Alana Sealey Grant sealed the deal crashing over the line to score once again despite the unmatched numbers, finishing on a high minutes before the final whistle.
The ladies battled to the end in an extremely difficult situation and their hard work paid off keeping the score to 44-10 which reflects the effort put in when the odds were against them.
Coach Simon commented “Teamwork was great along with our set piece and the overall attitude was absolutely immense, lots to take away and work on”. Coach Aaron added “Another step in the right direction this week, the result didn’t go our way but a couple of standout players gave us a good platform to get some points on the board”.