Bletchley ladies tie it up at the top

Caroline Collie dodges a tackle
Caroline Collie dodges a tackle

Bletchley Ladies are level on points with leaders Olney going into the final game of the season after a thumping 79-0 win over Old Leamingtonians.

Level on points, Olney’s points difference is just two better than Bletchley’s with just one game to go in NC Midlands 1.

The Bletchley Ladies took the opening kick. Old Leams missed the catch and the ball bounced into touch. Old Leams failed to secure the line out, following up with a knock on. The referee played advantage, allowing the ladies to get the ball out to Caroline Collie who carried it down the pitch, pushing into Old Leams 22. She passed the ball out along the line, before Old Leams took the ball from the back of a ruck. A quick kick over the top was taken cleanly by Bletchley, who kicked to touch. Leams secured their line out this time, only to lose the ball at the resulting ruck. Leams took it back briefly, but not for long. Just three minutes into the game, Bletchley took it back, passed to Charlotte Gallop who popped it on to Rachael Taylor to put it down for the ladies’ first try: 5 – 0.

Bletchley gave a penalty from the restart, which Leams kicked to touch. They popped the ball down, only to knock on on the ground. Liv Calloway took the ball from the back of the scrum, passed out to Emma Taylor, then jigged round to take it back. The ball moved through the hands out to Jennie Davies. She carried it into the Leams half before Leams stopped her run. However, Bletchley retained possession, continuing to recycle the ball, moving towards the line all the time. Emma Taylor picked up from a ruck, passed out through the hands of Rae Taylor and Beth Metcalf, back to Rae Taylor to secure her second try, just three minutes after her last! This one was converted: 12 – 0.

Five minutes later, Bletchley did it again; Leams briefly looked like they were coming back at Bletchley, making a break. This was short lived; they gave a penalty, which Bletchley kicked to touch. Bletchley lost their advantage at the line out, not throwing straight, but Emma Taylor ripped the ball and passed it out. Leams intercepted a pass, then gave another penalty. Rae Taylor kicked the ball down the pitch, immediately chasing it up. Leams took the catch on their 22, but Bletchley quickly regained possession, passed out to Gallop who moved up to the line. She drew in the opposition, then popped out to Marlese Levermore who put it down in the corner. The kick went wide, moving Bletchley to 17 -0, just fifteen minutes into the game!

From the restart, Leams came back at Bletchley. They took possession back from an early ruck, then took advantage of a Bletchley penalty to kick to touch on Bletchley’s 22. They secured their line out, then Bletchley gave another penalty, which they compounded by not retreating 10. Leams were now pushing on the Bletchley line. Bletchley dug in but Leams kept pushing. They got the ball over the line, but Bletchley managed to hold it up. From the 5m scrum, Emma Taylor picked and tried to make a break. She moved play to Bletchley’s 22, giving some breathing space. The ball was knocked on in the pass, giving Leams the scrum. They continued to push, but Bletchley pushed back, holding them at their 22, whichever way they tried to go. Eventually Bletchley’s pressure paid off; they stole the ball from a ruck, passed back to Rae Taylor who booted it up the pitch. Leams took it on the halfway line, but knocked on. Bletchley continued to work their way up the pitch. Leams pushed back to the middle briefly, then Davies made a break to Leams’ 22. The ladies moved the ball along the line, giving a couple of handling errors to give possession to Leams for short periods. Not for long though; Leams chose to kick to touch from a scrum, giving the ball back to Bletchley. The ball passed over to Davies, then on to Collie pushed up and put it down between the posts: 22 – 0.

With ten minutes left to play, Bletchley quickly took another try from an amazing break from Collie. Taylor secured the kick to move the score to 29 – 0. This was followed by a try from Emma Taylor in the last play of the half: half time score 34 – 0.

The second half saw more of the same, though this time it took ten minutes to get the next points on the board. After concerted efforts from Leams to prevent the score moving any further against them, Bletchley set up a rolling maul. Emma Taylor saw an opportunity, passed out to her sister who wove down the pitch, with Levermore on her shoulder. With 5m to go, Taylor popped the ball out to Levermore, who took it over the line, just to the right of the posts. The following kick skimmed past the wrong side of the posts: 39 – 0.

Rachael Appleby took the catch from the restart and immediately moved up. Bletchley set up another rolling maul to move up to the halfway line. The ball passed out to collie, who flicked it on to Davies, allowing her to storm down the pitch to put it down for another Bletchley try: 44 – 0.

Appleby did it again at the restart, but this time the ladies gave a penalty, allowing Leams a short respite. Unfortunately for them, their kick was taken by Davies, who headed down the pitch again. They caught her as she moved into their half, but she managed to off load; the ball moved through the hands to Collie who did it instead, right between the posts. A clean kick moved Bletchley on to 51 – 0.

Just one minute later, Bletchley did it again. Rae Taylor made a break, with her sister hot on her heals. She popped the ball out at 5m, for Emma to put it down for her second try, and Bletchley’s 10th. Taylor took the kick, moving the board to 58 – 0.

Another minute and it was Davies turn to get her second try: 65 – 0. The next try took a bit longer; 6 minutes, put down by Collie (4th) and converted by Taylor: 72 – 0. Finally, in the closing minutes of the game, Emma Taylor took her third, converted by her sister, to take the final score to 79 – 0.

Bletchley Ladies still sit second to Olney on points difference, but this score line has narrowed the gap to 2 points! With one match each to go, it will be a nail biter going in to Bletchley’s final league match.