First round win for SMOB Ladies
The ladies started the league campaign with an away victory over tough opposition
The ladies were looking to start their league campaign on Sunday with an away victory against newly promoted Devizes Ladies. With both sides signing an abundance of new players over the summer period neither sides new what to expect from one another and the ladies in green and black knew this would be a difficult and tense opening fixture.
SMOBL started the game with the lion's share of possession, continually pressing the Devizes defence in attack and won the battle upfront dominating in the scrums. Chloe Tucker and Nicole Crowley were denied early on with superb covering tackles from the home side however, beautiful quick hands from the backline enabled pacey winger Ellie Clarke to rush to the line and touch down in the corner to open the scoring. Unfortunately the conversion attempt rebounded off the wrong side of the uprights denying last season's highest points Jo Smith of her first points of the 2017/18 league season. After early nerves, both teams seemed to settle into the match however SMOBL's resilient line press in defence was rewarded when Smith intercepted a well read pass and ran in from 60 metres out, which she safely converted from in front of the posts. Devizes fought back but a fantastic SMOBL defensive kept the oppositions score to nil finishing the first half with a 12-0 lead.
The second half started much more evenly however but with a large home crowd on their side, it was Devizes who look the most threatening in the early second half exchanges. After continuous pressure over a 10 minute period, SMOBL were caught napping around the fringes of the breakdown allowing the Devizes forwards to crash through and score their opening points of the match. SMOBL never lost their attacking threat but a lucky pick up from a lose ball led to a Devizes player making a great solo run from her own half way to dot down underneath the posts which was easily converted leaving the score a nail biting 12-12.
Showing great team spirit, the green and black ladies took back control of the game once again and after relentless pressure it was quick thinking scrum half Tammy Howells who used her gas and impressive footwork to maneuverer through the Devizes defence to score a well deserved and match winning try with 3 minutes to play.
There were notable performances from player and coaches players Michaela Excell and Sophie Williams as well as Abigail Berry, Sarah Cronk, Kaycie Mosley, Kath Fok who all made their league debuts.
The ladies now have a weekend of rest before welcoming old friends Yeovil to Northwood Park on 24 September.