The Swans opened their league campaign this Sunday with a win against opponents Lakenham Hewitt.
The home side having struggled for players last year continue in the same way this season too. So started the game with only 14 players.
Fortunately the away side only brought 15 players as they also are struggling numbers wise.
The home side started the stronger and only electing 7 forwards they were up for a battle. However with set piece being a vital part of the Swans game, they did not need 8 in the scrum because all 7 forwards were superb and still caused the away team great difficulty winning 85% off scrums still. This enabled the Swans to settle into the game very quickly and a great testament to their mind set only starting with 14 players.
15 minutes into the game the Lakenham Prop was forced to leave the field due to injury. (Was this due to the scrum dominance?) Scrums now became uncontested and numbers were even.
The breakdowns were quite messy for both sides with players holding on and tacklers not rolling away made it a nightmare for the referee and it was the away side who seemed to benefit from the decisions.
It was however the swans who took the opening score with great power and ball retention through the middle of the field. It was last year’s captain Sophie Lepper getting her first points of the season. 5-0
Swans have worked extremely hard over preseason on the handling skills and have learnt to be more clinical in the red zone. Sunday showed this in abundance where it was great to see so many decent plays and plenty of linking up which is how they stretched the lead with Hailey scoring her first league points for the Swans.
The third try was sensational. Julie Nichols who missed out most of last year due to injury, wanted to show her true colours and help out the club not for the first time. You wouldn't have known she could barely run before KO.
So from a scrum on the far side of the field, Holly and Katie linked up beautifully at 10-12 making acres of space for Julie to run through the middle and score from 30m. Bec Bray added the extra's 17-0 HT.
Lakenham showed great character in the second half and never lost faith. In fact they opened the scoring in the 2nd half. (Perhaps due to some over confidence and lack of discipline from the Swans). The away side went through many phases to get their reward eventually. 17-5
Swans reacted well to the wake-up call and shortly put Hailey into the corner for her second. Again this was through great handling using the space which the pack had drawn everyone into. 22-5
A big well done to the commitment from the players who played eventually finishing the last 20 minutes of the game with 13 and still held on well despite the increase of gaps appearing in the defensive line.
Forward of the Match was Sophie Lepper. She was superb all around the field and tackled anything that moved. Really strong in the contact area, and scored a well deserved try.
Back of the Match went to Julie Nichols. Despite telling me on Saturday that she was going to play to help out even if she only lasted 20 minutes. To then play the whole game, score a try and still throw her body into the contact showed exceptional commitment.
They ladies will have a tougher game next Sunday as they travel away to Lichfield II's who also won and picked up a bonus point this week.
A good training session required on Wednesday and a couple more players required too this week.