Feher pulls the strings as OEs Women get off the mark
OEs secured their first ever league win in emphatic style on Sunday with a comprehensive nine-try performance at Barnes.
Barnes Ladies 0 Old Elthamians 49
This was a huge improvement on the 17-17 draw at Cuffley Ladies in their opening fixture and it shows how far the squad has developed in a short space of time, that only three players who played in OEs’ second ever fixture at Barnes seven months ago started on Sunday.
OEs handed competitive debuts to three players, prop Caz Olwa, flankers Anna Wilson and Miriam Taylor, all close season signings from Harlequins/Aylesford. There was also a return for Hungarian international Csilla Feher (pictured), who returned at fly half after recovering from a head injury.
From the kick-off, Barnes set up camp deep in OEs’ territory and recycled the ball through numerous phases, but the Elthamians defensive line held firm.
After weathering the early storm, the visitors began to get into their stride, producing quick ball and releasing the backs who looked dangerous throughout.
It was now OEs’ turn to apply pressure and following a number of phases in the Barnes 22, the ball was spun out to wing Andy Birchall who used good footwork and strength to go over in the corner.
With Feher pulling the strings at fly-half, the midfield of Helen Harris and Emily John were becoming increasingly influential and it wasn’t long before Harris barged over for the second try.
From the restart, OEs quickly made their way back up field and more pressure in the Barnes 22 led to Birchall going in for her second try.
As the half drew to a close, the OEs forwards began to take control with impressive breaks from Taylor and Olwa a one-woman wrecking ball at the breakdown. Prop Bex Goodwin, who enjoyed an outstanding afternoon, crashed over for the final points of the half to give Elthamians a 20-0 interval lead.
OEs started the second half the way they finished the first with Feher at the heart of their best work with the ball in hand. The tiring Barnes defence struggled to contain her as she darted through a gap to feed Emily John for a try before quickly adding one of her own, running in from 30 metres to touch down.
Dominating possession and territory, the visitors started to cut loose and there were further scorers from lock Charley Mitten after excellent work from industrious scrum-half Bethan Shaw and an interception try from John.
Goodwin rounded off an emphatic performance with the ninth and final try when she broke from a ruck to go over untouched in the corner. Captain Vicki Benbow, who led well throughout, added two second half conversions.
Back of the match went to scrum half Bethan Shaw who is improving week on week and had her best all round game to date. The forwards’ award went to flanker Miriam Taylor who stood out in attack and defence.
Old Elthamians: Allebone, Chenery, John, Harris, Birchall, Feher, Shaw, Goodwin, Black, Olwa, Benbow, Mitten, Wilson, Taylor, Penfold, Subs: Merryweather, Walkin, Gilbert, Fox.