Tactics are the key to Withycombe Ladies’ League Triumph
By Adam Curtis
In poor conditions Sunday’s NC South West 2 league clash was always going to be a game of territory. Withies game plan was simple and it worked to great effect.
From the outset Withies played with tempo and intent, making light of the strong winds and heavy mud. Early pressure lead to a series of penalties for Withycombe; Enya Surtees taking full advantage of one with a quick tap and go that saw her carry two Bideford players with her as she crashed under the posts; the wind dragging the conversion just wide. It was all Withies as they looked to kick for territory and relied on the conditions to do the rest. Jen Brammer using her pace to chase the kick and put the visitors under pressure.
The second, and ultimately decisive try, saw good hands create the space for Vicky Boraston to power over in her maiden match; the conversion proving too tricky from the angle. Soon after and Bideford began to find their feet, despite the quagmire. Withies repeatedly fell foul of the referee by straying in front of the back foot and this allowed the visitors to gain ground. It was sustained pressure that eventually saw Bideford score in the corner, but they couldn’t grab the extra two points.
Despite the warnings Withies kept being penalised and Surtees paid the ultimate price with ten minutes in the bin. Despite numerous phases of play and being down to 14 players, Withies’ defence repelled every attempt from Bideford, with skipper and forward of the match Becky Stephens eventually stealing the ball to leave the score 10-5 at half time.
The second half was all about the defensive effort. The forwards were outstanding; Carol Glover, Amy Horler, Emma Bolt, Larissa Wallace and Terrianne Densham with some notable tackles and carries, whilst back of the match Laurie Ranft along with Sian Williams and Kasey Williams were outstanding in their defensive duties, flattening players time and time again.
The weather and pitch put pay to any flowing rugby, but it was none-the-less exhilarating and an exhibition of how to play the conditions. The win should secure third place for Withycombe as well as pressurising for second. The final game for Withycombe Ladies is away at Chard on 17th March.
If you are interested in trying out rugby or joining in then training is currently on Wednesday at 7:30pm on the astro at ECC Gypsy Lane and there will be various opportunities over the summer to try out with 7s tournaments or some tag rugby fun in the sun.