Buckingham finished their season on a high last Sunday with a comprehensive win over Norwich side Lakenham Hewitt. And after the long trek to East Anglia victory tasted even sweeter by the fact that the Swans achieved this whilst playing with two players short for the majority of the game.
Having kicked off only able to field 14 players the Swans were expecting a tough afternoon, however it was they who did all the early running camping out in the opposition 22 for the opening 10 minutes. Having not managed to convert this pressure into points Buckingham feared the worst as their side was further depleted when injury to their scrum half led to her leaving the field of play with 60 minutes left on the clock. If anything though this only served to increase the effort and desire of the visitors and with the pressure intensifying the hosts defence was eventually breached as several phases of rucking was finished with No. 8 Terri Denham picking up the ball and crashing over from short range to open the scoring. This was rapidly doubled when, having regained possession from the kick off, good hands through the midfield put full-back Holly Malins in space to run in a try from 25 yards out.
The Swans then eased off a little and gave Lakenham the glimmer of hope they were looking for as the away side failed to clear their lines which resulted in the first period of sustained possession for the home side. A lack of discipline nearly cost the visitors as they were pegged back in their own 22 for several minutes, but the defence held firm and eventually an infringement around the ruck by the attacking side meant the Swans were awarded a relieving penalty to ease the pressure.
With neither side able to make any further in-roads during the first 40 the visitors went into half time 10 points up.
The second half was only minutes old when Malins, who was a constant thorn in Lakenham’s side with her powerful line breaking runs from full-back , bagged her second try as she out sprinted the opposition after receiving the ball in her own half.
With the sun no longer in their eyes Buckingham chose to employ their kicking game more frequently in the second half and profited from the territory this brought them as the pack (despite being a man down having been forced by the earlier injury to move flanker, Emily Barker to scrum half) continued their dominance in the scrum from the previous week, winning many balls against the head. This, coupled with Kirsty Haig taking most of the line out ball, gave the backs the platform they needed to bring further reward. And following another successful line out the ball was fed out to Malins who looked to be heading over for her hat-trick only to be denied by a tackle two yards from the try line. However, winger Julie Nichols was on hand to receive a neat offload from Malins and hurl herself over the line.
The one blot on the Swans game came shortly afterwards as following a punt into the Lakenham half their full-back collected the loose ball and showed a good turn of pace as she evaded several attempted tackles to score the home side’s only points of the match.
The visitors made sure this was the one and only meaningful attack the Norfolk side were going to have for the rest of the day raising their game once more to assure themselves of a bonus try win as Haig crashed over for a deserved try, to which Malins added the extras. This was followed up minutes later with Malins this time making sure of the hat-trick as she went over under the posts and then capped off a great performance by converting her own try.
With the game almost over Haig grabbed herself a second try as she peeled off a driving maul to leap over in the right corner completing a very satisfying afternoon’s rugby with a final score of 5 – 39.