Eastern Counties Women racked up nine tries in a rampant display of running rugby in the final pool game of the Gill Burns Women’s County Championship scoring an unanswered 59 point against rivals Cheshire RFU to claim top spot in the table. Whilst the backs scored many of the points the forwards gave them a rock steady platform, dominating in the scrum and at the breakdown, with prop Bury Foxes’ Jasmin Clark anchoring the scrum and picking up Forward of the match for an impressive 80minute display.
The team will have to wait until next week’s final round to see if they will make the final with Leicestershire still able to take top spot if they beat Oxfordshire.
The opening exchanges were nervy with both teams making unforced errors, however a period of possession by the home team was rewarded with a try from outside centre Maria Carpenter of Bury Foxes, which was duly converted by Harwich Owls’ Annalise Allan in the first of seven conversions from nine attempts.
This caused the visitors to rally their troops, which despite some blustering runs from openside flanker and Wymondham Wasps’ Libby Lockwood, they were able to keep the home team at bay. An injury to Carpenter allowed Shelford’s Lizell Heather to take the field. She made an immediate effect taking the ball at speed on the 22m and running through two tacklers on her way to score ‘Counties second try to take the lead to 12-0 with 30minutes gone.
Heather was instrumental in the third try of the game making another big hole in the Cheshire defence before the ball was released to West Norfolk Ladies’ Georgie Lingham who raced to the line to score the first of her two tries, Allan adding the extras to take ‘Counties into a 19-0 lead which remained unchanged until the half time whistle.
‘Counties fourth and bonus point try came through the forwards with Harwich Owls’ Lock Naomi Dobner spotting a gap in the Cheshire defences at the ruck and diving over for a try, Allan converting to take the score to 26-0.
Right wing Bury Foxes’ Steph Hanratty was the next to score benefiting from some powerful driving play by the pack and running the ball in from 30m to score with Allan again adding the extras to take the score to 33-0. Hanratty was again on the score sheet, picking up a brace from the kick off running the ball in from half way to take the score to 38-0.
Lockwood then got in the action smashing her way through the defences and racing to the line from 30m out, which was just reward for the number of yards she made for the team during the game. With Counties’ in rampant form they moved the ball quickly to back of the match Heather from the kick-off who duly bounced her opposite number before rounding the fullback and sprinting from half way to score her second try of the game, Allan adding the extras to take the score to 52-0.
Lingham picked up the final try of the game much to the delight of her home club’s supporters, racing down the left wing before cutting infield to score under the posts allowing Allan a simple kick to take the score to an impressive 59-0.
Georgie Lingham(West Norfolk Ladies), Steph Hanratty (Bury St Edmunds Foxes) Maria Carpenter(Bury St Edmunds Foxes), Claire Brickley (Wodbridge Amazons), Sonia Knowles(Lakenham Ladies), Annalise Allan 10(Harwich Owls),) Georgie Palmer Vice Capt(Bury St Edmunds Foxes), Sophia John (Bury St Edmunds Foxes), Libby Lockwood (Wymondham Wasps), Stacey Hargrave Capt (Royal Navy), Mimi Montgomery (Harwich Owls), Naomi Dobner (Harwich Owls), Jasmin Clark (Bury St Edmunds Foxes), Sam Chan(Cambridge Uni), Sami Rackman (Bury St Edmunds Foxes)
Charly Green (Wymondham Wasps), Kaylee Williams (Bury Foxes), Natalie Palmer (Bury Foxes), Mary Hegarty (West Norfolk Ladies), 20 Florence Wilkinson (Ipswich), Rachel Grayson (Lakenham), Lizell Heather (Shelford)
Maria Carpenter 1T, Lizell Heather 2T, Georgie Lingham 2T, Naomi Dobner 1T, Steph Hanratty 2T, Libby Lockwood 1T, Annalise Allan 7C
Back of the match: Lizell Heather Forward of the match: Jasmin Clark
Updated 12:44 - 30 May 2017 by Sean Mills