(written by Charlie McLaughlin)
Shelford Ladies faced Buckingham Swans away on Sunday. The Swans, who have just been relegated from Championship 1 were taken off guard in the opening stages of the game. Steph Foode's kick through caught their back line unawares and the opening try was scored by Foode herself to put Shelford in an early lead. With only 15 players available for the game it was a major blow, when in this first play of the game they lost Alice Middleton to an ankle injury. Despite the setback and playing the remainder of the game with a player down, Shelford continued to be dominant and this was rewarded with another try from Nicola Conquest.
Buckingham had a large pack and during a rare visit to the Shelford 22 they managed to maul their way over the line for a well worked try. The first half was played largely in the Buckingham half and some excellent rucking kept possession firmly with the Shelford girls. This was rewarded with another try from Lizell Heather after 35 minutes. With Heather's kicking also largely on song the half time score was 19-5.
This really was a game of two halves and with no replacements it was inevitable that Shelford would begin to tire. The Swans ladies used their forward's might to trundle their way over over the line a few more times during the longest second half in history! Despite a valliant defensive effort (defending a 5m pushover scrum effectively and countering many attacks in thier 5 metre zone) Shelford conceded four tries in the second half.
So a final score of 29-19. The bonus point loss leaves Shelford 4th in the league. The ladies are dreaming of replacements as they face Worcester II next week at home. If recent form is continued this is a very winnable game indeed. Bring on next week!