..and yet so far!
Winnington Park Ladies 17 -Wolverhampton Ladies 19
Tries: Hannah Burt (2)
Abbie Hebert (1)
Cons: Laura Underdown (1)
An end to end thriller watched by a substantial and very vocal crowd saw Winnington ladies miss out on their first win of the season, literally by a foot.
The Winnington performance at Burrows Hill on Sunday was a lifetime away from the rusty showing at Aston 2 weeks ago. The forwards dominated the set play and the backs exhibited a sharpness and skill previously unseen from this squad. Once again though, they were undone by 3 careless mistakes and were undeservedly at the wrong end of the score line.
Winnington opened the scoring after 15 minutes. The pack drove two thirds of the pitch with newcomer Emma Barrie and veteran Thea Beau leading the charge. Once in the opposition 22, the ball was whipped out along the back line to where Jonny on the spot captain Hannah Burt was waiting to crash over under the posts. Laura Underdown converting.
15 minutes later, after Winnington had been forced to soak up the controlled pressure exerted by the mobile Wolverhampton pack close to the try line for 10 minutes, their line was eventually breached wide out, conversion missed.
Wolverhampton scored another try before half time after an uncharacteristic missed tackle in the Winnington backline, conversion under the posts.
Half Time: WPRFC 7 – Wolverhampton 12
Winnington started the second half as they had the first. Retaining the ball well in contact and through the inspired 9 and 10 combination of Nessa Hadley and Laura Underdown, working their way down the pitch. Centre combination Abbie Hebert and Dawn Akrigg, a sublime mixture of youth and experience, worked some magic in the centre of the field and Hebert sprinted through and then around the Wolverhampton defence for the best try of the match. Hadley just missing with the conversion.
At 12 apiece the match became very tense, punctuated with mistakes made under pressure and dominated by some magnificent defence from both sides. The stalemate was eventually broken by Winnington. After 10 minutes of sustained pressure, they were awarded a penalty 15 metres out and the ever alive Underdown took it quickly and put Captain Burt through a gap in the opposition defence for her second try of the match, the subsequent conversion agonisingly close. A second momentary lack of concentration allowed the Wolverhampton backline to slip in under the posts again to take them 2 points clear.
The last 5 minutes was edge of the seat stuff. Winnington having wave after wave of attack repelled by a resilient Wolverhampton defence. With 30 seconds to go, the Winnington back line broke the defence and with a yard to go and the winning try about to be scored, a desperate defensive tackle saw the ball knocked forward over the line, immediately followed by the final whistle.
A tremendous effort from a still developing Winnington squad and a desperately unfortunate defeat.
Players of the match: Emma Barrie and Laura Underdown
Martin J Eastwood
WPRFC Ladies Coach