Scarlets Resounding Victory Over Aldwinians
It was a perfect night for rugby under the lights at Aldwinians RUFC with hardly a breath of wind on a mild night, for this time of year at least. And perfect rugby is what our Scarlets team produced to win 35-5.
Match Report by Ray Bell
As the team took to the field looking for a second Merit league win in their first night time game on the road, they looked focused and ready to put lots of hard work in training into practice.
There was good energy in the pre-match warm up and that carried into the kick off which saw the Scarlets get immediate territory through some punishing tackles and hard running in attack - particularly around the breakdown. A succession of rucks and hard ball carrying over the gain line from Aisha, Madie and Tegan in particular drew an inevitable penalty deep in the Winnies 22. Some alert thinking from Helen taking a quick tap, shrugging off a couple of tackles, saw the opening score under the posts. Sian stepped up to add the extra two points in what was to turn out to be a faultless kicking display from the skipper.
From the restart, Scarlets were immediately on the front foot again and moved swiftly into the opposition 22 where a succession of rucks and good handling moves set up another good attacking position. Some unfortunate knock ons saw the drive temporarily halted but pressure in defence soon saw Scarlets on the attack again. The pattern of the game was therefore set with Scarlets dominating possession, recycling the ball well and on the rare occasions that Aldwinians got the ball, some shuddering tackles and disruption around the rucks soon regained possession.
Some good territory from another penalty saw some great ball off the top at the lineout and some sharp passing and hard running had the Scarlets probing for a second score. After several phases and carries, Madie crashed over for a well deserved debut try which was converted by Sian.
By now everything was coming together and Scarlets were well on top. The lineout was functioning brilliantly with Claire hitting the target time and time again and Charl catching or tapping everything for good ball to the scrum half. The backs were also slick in defence and attack, marshalled by Madie and Helen in different stints at fly half. Beth and Eleanor carried the ball well gaining great yards and presenting the ball well. The forwards also carried well through Tegan, Sarah, Sian & Aisha and in defence Lauren, Emily, Hannah and Ellen were making tackle after tackle. Claire and Sarah were working hard at every breakdown and ensured that the Scarlets lost the ball at the ruck only once in the whole game.
The third try soon came following a good carry from Yasmin setting up another series of rucks deep in enemy territory. The last of which saw a pick and go from Sian with defenders, posts, post protectors all discarded as she crashed over for another score which was duly converted by the try scorer.
With the clock running down, Aldwinians made some good territory for a rare foray into the Scarlets 22 which was compounded but a couple Scarlets infringements. The pressure eventually told and Aldwinians finished with a try on the last play of the half which was unconverted.
Although disappointed to concede so close to half time, the team were soon back on the attack. Another line out, some good moves by the backs and great hands from Charl, Beth (who was everywhere on the night), Nicki and Eleanor saw the ball worked wide. The substitutes were making a big impact with an injection of pace from Rachel (despite carrying a knock) and Kate with some strong runs, excellent off loads and providing crucial links in the back play. Some excellently timed passes from Rach and Helen eventually saw the ball reach 2nd row Hannah supporting out wide. A solid hand saw off a somewhat unconventional tackle technique and she outpaced the full back to score under the posts and was immediately mobbed by her team mates and got a quick hug from a delighted touch judge too!
There were some frustrations and niggles from the opposition at this stage and at times the game was feisty with some big hits and clear outs going in. A quick word of discipline from Coach Bex ensured that tempers didn't get too frayed and the Scarlets held their discipline and focused on the job in hand. Emily in particular was in the thick of the action and put in some great tackles and charging runs.
With the result almost certain, Aldwinians enjoyed some more possession in the second half but the Scarlets defence was more than up to the task forcing knock ons and turnovers. The wingers in particular made some great tackles with Yas stopping a charging number 8 close to the line when a try looked certain. On the other wing a brilliant two person tackle forced an Aldwinians player backwards with Nicki claiming the majority of the credit for that one.
Another good lineout, and some more clever kicking from Helen saw a 50 yard gain in possession. A turnover at the line out then saw several more attacks launched by the energetic back line, the last of which was a very slick backs move which was finished off clinically by Rachel who out paced several defender on the outside. A brilliant conversion by Helen was a fitting way to finish the points scoring as it turned out. With both teams tiring after a hard fought match, the contest finished the way it started with Scarlets camped on the Aldwinians line. As the final whistle went, proud coach Bex had a smile wider than the gap behind the French mens team back line. To be fair, she was beaming with pride from about the 10th minute of the game, as were all the Scarlets supporters who had turned out.
All in all, it was a well deserved win for a team that continues to go from strength to strength. In her post match de-brief, Captain Sian remarked on how far this team has come in such a short time and the smiles on faces show the camaraderie on which this team is build. Well done to all who took part as everyone made a significant contribution to the game. Particularly well done to those players on debut and those crazy individuals who played 2 games in one day!
Forward and Back of the match were awarded to Tegan and Beth for their crunching tackles and play with the ball; and Aldwinians selected their Woman of the Match as Aisha for her play making and being “proper difficult to tackle”.
Next up is Anselmians at home on 24th Feb. Onwards and upwards.