Pulborough U18 Girls Win on the road
Sometimes you need the inspiration for a match report, at other times you need the right content. A visit to Trojans brought enough of both for the first match report of the season to finally emerge.
Like most of the big fixtures in any sport, the biggest storylines are often happening off the pitch. So it was with the visit to Hampshire, where the big story was that Colonel Saunders was not available for supporting duties. How was Amy going to function without the customary hailing from the touchline?
After five seasons of constant and (almost) faultless support, it took just one slip from the Colonel, (failing to recall Amy’s previous try’s at the Worthing game), that got him banned from the touchline. He was going to be missed, by someone, but thankfully Amy managed to function splendidly on the day.
Another absent support was ex-Chair, grandee and all-time W&G legend Mr Fisher. We are now so familiar with the Big Fish watching home games on pitch 1 from the distance of pitch 2, (perhaps for fear of seeing too much, or fear of picking up another duty), that it was almost a surprise to not see him emerge from the distance and shout ‘suck it up’ before disappearing back towards the Solent.
Thankfully the other Fishy was there to steward the coaches and lay down the laws and logistics on the day.
Other supporters included some familiar faces and also some newer ones. Stalwart Sarah was there to give the crew a party flavour, but without Richard to drive home the cheerleaders were inevitably hamstrung from the start.
Kevin is now officially the supporter with the biggest lens. Someone will now have to move Santa to the front of the crowd in order that he can get shots of players rather than subs.
Trish inherited the ‘coat of shame’ with unabashed fervour. Clearly there is some history there.
Anyway, there was some rugby to be played. Even if we weren’t quite sure when.
The KO time was moving around like Chloe on the dancefloor, as the hosts decided the format of the day. Would it be 1:30 or 2:00? Would we referee or wouldn’t we? Shall we use the big pitch or the dinky one? Shall we use all the laws or just some? Choices, choices……
Abba was playing on a boom-box for the warm-up. Apparently the Trojans like it, and to be fair some of the Borough girls did too. Kelly was even tapping a welly, although Keith was clearly distraught on the lack of Dirty Dancing (see National Final match report).
A shortened warm-up to accommodate whatever the heck was going on, and we’re off.
At this juncture the Morecombe and Wise writing style takes over, with many of the right notes being used, but possibly in the wrong order.
The game definitely started with the Borough forwards putting together a string of phases; ruck, pick ‘n go, a few Sarries, and ground being justly earned. The ‘strong & stable’ rhythm of the forwards is becoming a reliable and valuable asset of the squad.
It was not long before the backs were given enough space on the dinky pitch to put Lauren in for the first of a pair of tries, both demonstrating pace and a go-forward attitude that would last for 70 minutes. Conversions – not so good. Like kicking an empty crisp packet.
Of the forwards, many of the regulars were doing their usual thing; Jade taking the shortest possible route to the try-line for a strong score; Amilia ensuring Trojans knew exactly where the defensive line was; Carla putting the jeepers up people with her Tasmanian Devil act.
But it was a rounded performance from all the forwards. Lois especially caught the eye, showing sharp thinking and great commitment consistently. Cally, Ellie Mae, Tups, Niamh and Pip all quietly went about putting in an excellent performance, while the likes of Elisha and Ellie H added the spice and impact around the break-down, with Ellie’s hard-line running and strength well deserving the fourth try of the first half.
Amy punted over the only conversion of the day and the first half finished 22 – 0, with Pulborough having the upper hand, and also their first yellow card of the season.
Mad-dog Fordo had put in a sterling performance, building on a great showing the previous week. With increasing work-rate, a magical side-step at one point (like every modern-day prop) and wonderful soft hands (passing that is), it was a travesty to see her taking the long walk to the touch-line after a minor scuffle.
Trooper that she is, Fordo immediately looked for the static bike to keep warm on, but without the equipment being available was forced to just stand and give daggers to everyone.
Second half saw a new referee, this one insisting on refereeing with a whistle that he retained from a Christmas cracker he pulled in 1973. It would not have been so bad, except his clothes were of the same era. Nevertheless, like 50% of the police force, he knew most of the laws, and that helped make a more flowing second half, if not necessarily in our favour.
Trojans were certainly giving it some. More Abba at half time and they were certainly coming out for their own version of Waterloo, albeit they were on the losing side. (Ed. There is clearly a temptation now to use a whole series of Abba song titles, neatly woven into this diatribe, but given I dislike Abba immensely I simply won’t, not unless you pay me Money Money Money).
Pulborough were insisting on using strategies to avoid scoring tries. Why use a four man overlap when you can have a crash down the centre. Entertaining to a point, but it was a pleasure to see the backs finally control a full back line, enabling them to put Lydia in for a popular try.
Trojans probably won the possession stats of the second half, in part because of a barn-stormer from Imo playing in a Trojan shirt. Having done a stout shift for Borough in the first half, she then played flanker for Trojans second half, winning some superb ball jackling, as well as putting in some mighty tackles on her team mates, with no quarter given.
Nevertheless, the Borough defence held out with some good scrapping tackles, not least by Rosie who showed an excellent physical performance.
One more turnover and the Robot Rabbit was off, scoring yet another try from the centre that was reward for the way she was covering the whole pitch.
Amilia finished the game for the forwards, who deserved to see their names on the score sheet once more after a solid game from the forward squad. A few more kicks to scatter about, and the final score was 37 – 0.
Overall a good game. John didn’t need any Kleenex for this friendly, but this was the sort of game that allowed everyone to contribute; no walkover, very physical, and a game that had to be taken. Which they did.
Squad (tries): Aliya, Amilia (1), Amy, Cally, Carla, Chloe, Elisha, Ellie (1), Ellie Mae, Emily, Holly, Imo, Jade (c) (1), Jess, Lauren (2), Lois, Lydia (1), Niamh, Pip, Rachel (1), Rosie, Tups
photo courtesy of Santa Productions Ltd.