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By Arlene Moxon
25 January
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Boston Ladies were in action against second place Peterborough Ladies on Sunday; in a game that could have seen the Ladies leapfrog Peterborough in the table.
From the kick-off Boston Ladies started well, a series of powerful forward surges linked well with the back line. After 7-minutes the forwards had recycled the ball quickly after a succession of pick and go short bursts from the pack, Charlotte Daubney (sponsored by Dexter & Sharpe Accountants) quickly sent the ball down the back line to Lycia Elston (sponsored by Clarke Construction). The powerful outside centre running past two players before being held up over the Peterborough line, unable to ground the ball. From the resultant restart Boston again regathered the ball and powered forward, peppering the Peterborough line for the next 10 minutes with opportunities for several players, only to be repelled time and again by Peterborough’s relentless physicality in the tackle.
Returning Captain Hannah Booth (sponsored by Adrian Hart) (Boston and Peterborough’s Players Player of the Match) controlled the attack line well, supported by Sherrie Christian (sponsored by Vicky Morris). However, on the 15-minute mark Peterborough had edged back into the game and began to make inroads into the Boston defence. The game then evolved into a real physical encounter, with both forward lines battling for ascendancy and both back lines tackling as if their lives depended upon it. The game ebbed and flowed around the halfway line with both sides making breaks only to be blunted by superb tackling. Boston full-back Sarah Simpson (Boston back of the match), in particular, protecting the Boston line with at least four try saving tackles. Small margins were always going to make the difference and on 20-minutes a missed tackle resulted in an exciting interchange between the Peterborough back line and the first score of the afternoon under the Boston posts.
From the restart Peterborough’s tails were up and they again surged forward, the Boston back row of Cat Neville, Mollie Smith (sponsored by NJS Safety) and Tania Jones, now performing miracles in managing to stem tide after tide of oncoming Peterborough forwards, with Tania, in particular making, a Herculean effort in stemming the tide with tackle after tackle in defence, earning her the Boston forward of the Match accolade. Cat Neville, suffering a blow to the right eye, was then replaced after 20 minutes by Kailyn Buchanan, who fitted seamlessly into the mix, adding her dominant tackling to the overall defencive performance. Second row partnership of Arlene Moxon (sponsored by JPMT) and Kyra Balderstone (sponsored by Little Stage) functioned superbly in both attack; but particularly in a defensive posture, both putting in potential Player of the Match performances. Front row partnership of Lucy Buckberry (sponsored by Beesons of Boston), Tash Champion and Max Heeley (sponsored by Mr James Maths Tuition) remained dominant in the scrum and combative throughout the afternoon, with dominant carries from the base of the ruck and at first receiver.
At 25 minutes Boston again made a mistake and spilled a ball in the tackle, which was then pounced upon the Peterborough scrum half, capitalising on the resulting confusion to dot down just wide of the posts.
This was the last score of the half, with the break coming with Peterborough 12-0 up, however this was not the story of the half. Sheer physicality was the theme of the half, both teams were prepared to go hammer and tongs at each other, determined to break the defensive lines of the opposition, whose defences were as equally determined not to falter. Both wingers Paige Heeley and Charlie Ingram-Janetta defended superbly all afternoon with hard hitting contact and great body shape in the tackle.
At the restart, changes to the back line saw Paige Heeley, Charlie Ingram-Janetta (sponsored by P&N Pest Control) and Sarah Simpson replaced by Lilly Smith, Freya O’Shea and Tiana Woolaston, the game commenced at the same furious pace and intensity as the first period had ended. Boston’s power and precision in the line out and scrummage, matched by Peterborough’s slight advantage at the ruck, with better organisation and ball protection, allowing time for the correct decisions to be made.
The half ebbed and flowed, with the finishers introduced, Claire Wright (sponsored by Brothertoft Build) entered the fray for Mollie Smith; with Arlene Moxon moving to Number 8, Wright adding height to the already perfect line out and adding superb tackling to the tiring defence. On the 40-minute mark the rapid Tiana Woolaston, took advantage of a slight gap and inside stepped the onrushing forwards, only to be brought down by a reflexive, flailing arm to the head. The yellow card awarded to Peterborough saw Boston sensed the advantage had swung over to them. The interplay between forwards and backs improved, although inaccuracies remained in the handling, especially under pressure. On 45-minutes the game was stopped to allow treatment to Kaitlyn Buchanan who had turned her knee in a tackle. The young flanker, who had entered the game in the first half and had impressed massively with her superb tackling; had settled into the Ladies squad brilliantly, unfortunately had to be carried from the field and taken to hospital. Cat Neville re-entered the fray. On 55 minutes it was Peterborough’s turn to flinch, when Booth danced around a tackler to offload to free running Lilly Smith. Smith then lit the afterburners and won the resultant 70 metre sprint down the right wing to outpace the Peterborough defence to score for Boston in the corner. (12-5)
With only 7 points now separating the sides; the game seemed to elevate to new levels of savage intensity. Hannah Booth, Lycia Elston Kyra Balderstone and Arlene Moxon making crunching tackles at key moments, blunting the advancing Peterborough lines. Tiana Woolaston, impressing at full back in her second game for the full Ladies squad, her swift counter attack running from securing the high Peterborough kicks almost resulted in further points but for more determined defencive tackling. Freya O’Shea and Smith added speed and agility in the back line, both having opportunities to penetrate the line. Emma Fletcher (sponsored by Laws Tansport) and Jody Stobart replaced Lucy Buckberry and Charlotte Daubney on the hour mark. Both sides could have scored during this period, it just required the opposition to make a mistake. On 65 minutes, Boston made the slightest error by charging narrow at the blind side, when a clear overlap advantage had existed wide. The resultant ruck was not sealed quickly enough, and Peterborough managed to steal the ball. From this a series of surging runs and sublime offloads, saw Peterborough dot down to seal their hard-fought win. (17-5)
Boston coaches, Ant Buckberry and Shaun Turl, reflected post-match. ‘Either side could have won today. Had we taken our chances early doors, who knows how the game could have unfolded. But we didn’t and Peterborough, to their credit, did. They were clinical today and capitalised on every mistake we made. Ball presentation and organisation around the ruck cost us, we didn’t protect our own ball well enough, and when we were presented with opportunities to turn ball over, we again, did not work hard enough to secure the turnover. What we are so proud of though, is the sense of togetherness this group possesses. Win, lose or draw, heads never drop and there is never any negativity, they are forever spurring each other onwards, supportive and encouraging.’
They also added, ‘We are progressing as a group. Each game gives us more experience, allowing the newer members of the squad to develop and hone their own rugby skill sets, whilst the team becomes stronger, fitter, more precise and more and more effective. We have fantastic numbers now training regularly, twice a week. With 25-30 at training the atmosphere is always brilliant, whilst it is serious, fun is always the key – we have a great time, but the numbers allow us to focus on game-based coaching. The Ladies run their sessions, they target what needs to be covered from the game on Sunday and we (the coaches) facilitate those things into training for them.’
Turl also added, ‘The physicality on show today was immense, we pride ourselves of that side of our game, Peterborough matched us hit for hit today, there will be some sore bodies tomorrow. The girls are disappointed at the result, but are pleased with the overall effort, Peterborough are a great, well organised side and deserved the win.’
On the injury count he said, ‘Paige came off as a precaution with a hamstring problem, Max has a bit of a tight quad, and was suffering a bit of cramp toward the end. Cat caught an elbow to her face, which swelled immediately, it doesn’t appear to be serious, although she’s not happy (nor is her mum!!!!) she’ll be sporting a black eye at her University graduation ceremony in the week! All should be available for selection in two weeks, with the added possibility of Sophie Lorenz, Hayley Whiteman and Karlie Clarke also returning to the squad. Kaitlyn’s knee is a different story, she needed to go to the hospital for a full check and definitive diagnosis; we all wish her well and hope it is not a serious injury. She has made the jump to adult rugby so well and was a tackling machine out there today, we want her back as soon as she can. The longer-term injury to Meg Robinson is progressing and she is well into her rehabilitation; whilst Chez Webster is still waiting for surgery.’
Hannah Booth, ladies Captain commented, ‘It is so great to be back playing with the girls, I have missed it. The squad are amazing, we have just been put through the wringer today, it was really physical out there and yet nobody budged an inch. Tackles were so aggressive as were the runs and the kicks and both teams contributed to a fantastic game. I just love the togetherness of the entire group. I am gutted for Kaitlyn; she really has come on leaps and bounds and was an integral part of the performance today. I hope the injury is not serious and can’t wait to see her back… I would also like to thank Katie Berriman for coming as non-playing reserve, it just goes to show how committed the group is to each other.’
The whole squad want to wish Kailyn well and hope to see her back as soon as possible, we also want to congratulate Cat on her graduation.
Boston Ladies remains third in the league, and the squad will now spend the next 2 weeks preparing for the arrival of table toppers Lincoln at Broadstairs on Sunday 6th February, kick off 2:00pm.

Written by Shaun Turl, Boston Ladies' Coach

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