Bracknell Ladies welcomed Harpenden Ladies to their grounds on Sunday 18th February ready to put into practice what they’d learnt over 8 weeks whilst not having any games. On a sunny Calfridus pitch the whistle was blown at 14:15 and both sides went head to head. Strong defence from both teams meant after 15 minutes neither side had managed to get over the try line.
First to get points on the board were Harpenden as their winger went round Bracknell’s defence and dotted the ball down however with an unsuccessful conversion. Bracknell weren’t going to let this affect them and the hunger they had in their belly to get the win. Bracknell were raring to go as they reset for the kick.
Not long after the first try Esmee Sturges got the chance to show Harpenden the pace Bracknell had as she ran along the left wing, stepping two players and securely placed the ball down to the left of the post. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful.
Big tackles on either side saw little opportunity to get through the defensive line, but inside centre Leanne Smith spotted a gap in the Harpenden defence which she quickly exploited and powered through however Harpenden were hot on her heels. Amber Clark provided great support running however Leanne couldn’t get the ball away and fell short by 5 metres knocking the ball on.
Half time score 5-5.
After a half-time team talk from the coaches Bracknell Ladies were ready to come back and get the win. It didn’t take long for Claire Gujer to create some space from a quick ball off scrum-half Hannah Taylor. Mealsy Whitbread was on Claire’s shoulder to take a crash through Harpenden‘s defensive line. With Shona Webb in support, Mealsy could get away the offload and Shona crossed the whitewash for her first try of the season. Amber Ledger stepped up to take the conversion and successfully converted.
Harpenden weren’t going to make it an easy game and they quickly came back with two more tries despite great cover tackles from Tash King, Claire Gujer, Zoe Whelan and Esmee Sturges. A high ball from Harpenden led straight to Bracknell prop Shiv Jamieson’s hands, who smashed through multiple players from Harpenden to make some great ground. This got Bracknell back on the front foot and with great carries from both forwards and backs, Bracknell were sure to get another try.
Hannah Taylor carried the ball and offloaded to Tash who dived over the try line to even up the score once again. In true ping pong fashion Harpenden were awarded a scrum following a knock on and their backs managed to outpace Bracknell’s wings and soon got the try.
With 10 minutes left to play a penalty was given in Bracknell’s favour which allowed a quick tap and go penalty from Hannah Taylor to pass to Zara King who drove through the defence and got the offload to Tash King for her second score of the afternoon.
Overall it was a gutsy game played by both teams and we hope to see them again for a rematch next season. Bracknell Ladies would like to thank the large number of supporters that came down to cheer on the girls and the coaches who have dedicated so much time to them.
Forward of the match – Zara King
Most improved – Claire Gujer
Final score: 22 – 22.