Due to fixture re-arrangements, last Sunday saw the first of back to back fixtures with Bridgnorth Ladies.
The visitors posed something of an unknown quantity having only been promoted to Buckingham’s league this season, however the league table suggested the Shropshire side had acquitted themselves pretty well thus far, standing a couple of places above the Swans and 10 points better off at the start of play.
Buckingham started the game very brightly enjoying much of the possession in the opening exchanges, but several attacks were cut short by some poor handling.
It took until 10 minutes on the clock before the first points of the match were registered. The Bridgnorth defence conceded a couple of penalties in quick succession and following a quick tap, the ball was shipped along the back line before being popped to Holly Malins bursting into the attacking line from her full-back position. Receiving the ball about 20 yards out, she still had work to do but managed to sprint around the outside of the visitors defence and over the try-line, before returning to a more central position to touch the ball down and give herself a markedly easier conversion attempt, which she duly slotted to put the home side 7 points up.
The first half continued to ebb and flow with neither side really able to get a stranglehold on the game. The Bridgnorth number 8 looked to offer the visitors their greatest threat, and twice with only the Buckingham full-back between her and the try-line was superbly tackled by Malins, bringing the attack to a halt.
Buckingham looked to have the upper hand in the scrum in the first half and from this steady platform came the host’s second try. Scrum half, Emily Barker, collected the ball from the back of the scrum and quickly fed the backs. Malins, was once again on hand to collect the final pass before going over in the left hand corner to increase the Swans lead to 12 – 0, which remained going into the half-time break.
The start of the second half saw Bridgnorth trying their hardest to get back into the match but, despite holding the upper hand possession wise for a good 15 minutes, the game was largely played in the middle third of the pitch, with the home side’s defence holding strong and never really looking like it would be breached.
Having absorbed the pressure from the away side, Buckingham stepped up a gear and took the game back to Bridgnorth. Had it not been for a few cases of white line fever, they quite possibly would have increased upon their score before finally doing so when, with the backs screaming for the ball, inside centre Katie Clark was eventually fed the ball and able to cut through the opposition defence with a thundering run which took her clear and over the line. The extras duly added brought up a seemingly unassailable 19-0 lead, with 15 minutes left to play.
Bridgnorth, to their credit, were not quite ready to throw the towel in, and after a couple of penalties took them into the Swans 22, the sustained pressure eventually took its toll on the hosts as the visitors managed to squeeze over the line for an unconverted consolation try and bring an end to the scoring.
Players of the match for the home side were scrum half Emily Barker, who controlled the pack magnificently and Chantal Trigg, whose tackling was once again faultless.
This victory ensures that relegation is avoided, however in order to push on the Swans will have to be on their game next week as Bridgnorth will clearly be seeking to exact a swift revenge.