Kenilworth Ladies handed Bletchley Ladies their first defeat of the season as they left Manor Fields 27-19 winners on Sunday.
The visitors opened play; Bletchley took the catch and ran up the pitch, only to be tackled out by the chasing player, giving Kenilworth a line out. Bletchley stole the ball and continued to push up, only to give a penalty at a ruck, giving Kenilworth an opening. They took a quick tap and ran playback into Bletchley’s half, then kicked to gain further ground. Both sides chase the ball, but Kenilworth just beat Rachael Taylor to it. She put in the tackle to delay progress, but the visitors kept possession, worked through a few phases then ran across to the corner and managed to get the ball down for the game’s first points; 0-5, with less than five minutes of play.
Bletchley kicked deep for the restart, taken on the bounce by Kenilworth. A knock on in the tackle from this gave Bletchley a scrum, but Kenilworth managed to turn it and scoop up the ball, setting up a maul to push forward. Bletchley dug in and held them still, forcing them to pass out from the back with no territory gained. A forward pass gave Bletchley the advantage, but this wasn’t needed as they pushed forward with determination. After working through the phases to gain space, Taylor kick down the field. Kenilworth secured possession, but play remained in their half. After a couple of phases they kicked it back and secured it on the chase, only to be forced out, giving Bletchley the line out. Kenilworth took possession back, passed along the line, then set up a maul. Again Bletchley thwarted them, holding the maul and gaining the scrum in the middle of their half.
This time they held it, picked from the back and ran up. The ball found Jodie Dimmock who ran up to the middle of Kenilworth’s half before starting the phases to gain further ground. The ball found Betty Susova who drove it further, only to have Kenilworth rip the ball from a ruck. They set up a counter ruck, took the ball, then stepped out to give another line out. Kenilworth then gave a penalty at the throw. Emma Lucey took a quick tap, then passed along the line to Susova, who drove play into the visitor’s 22. Kenilworth put up a strong defence, and after seven phases, followed by a series of passes through the hands, forced a knock-on, giving them some respite with a scrum, ten metres from their line. They couldn’t hold possession though, giving a penalty at the scrum. Lucey took a quick tap before Kenilworth had a chance to retreat ten, passed along the line where Nicola Coaker and Liv Pulfer drove it over, to even the score; 5-5, 15 minutes into the game.
Kenilworth were not going to take this sitting down. They took the ball from the restart and pushed up, working the ball as they moved into their host’s half. They continued to push up, then gave a penalty. Taylor kicked up the pitch, but didn’t make touch, allowing Kenilworth another bite of the cookie. A penalty from Bletchley at a ruck further helped their cause; they took a quick tap, passed along the line to find a gap, made a break and took their second try; 5-10, with half the first half played.
Kenilworth again drove hard from the restart, working the ball, then making a break deep into Bletchley territory. A knock on gave Bletchley some respite, allowing them to move play back to the middle of their 22 before knocking on themselves. Kenilworth held their scrum, but Bletchley dug in, resisting all attempts to break their line and finally forced a penalty for holding on in a ruck. Lucey took a quick tap, passing the ball along the line to Taylor who kicked it to touch out of their 22. Kenilworth set up a maul from the line out, then passed along the line, pushing up to Bletchley’s 22 line. A penalty gave Bletchley a kick to touch and the line out. Kenilworth pre-lifted, giving Bletchley another chance. A quick tap before Kenilworth could retreat resulted in a free kick. Taylor again went for touch, giving Kenilworth the honours at the line out.
They secured the ball, then knocked on giving Bletchley the scrum, 20m in their own half. They secured the ball and drove forward, only to have it ripped from a ruck. Kenilworth pushed back, then tapped the ball over Bletchley’s defensive line. Claire Haines took the catch, allowing the team to run up, then set up a ruck. The ball passed out to Betty Susova who drove play forward before going down. It passed along the line from the ruck, then Bletchley worked through the phases till Susova picked from a ruck and drove things further forward. Eventually Kenilworth’s pressure paid off and they were able to steal possession form a ruck and start to claw back lost ground, working their way into Bletchley’s half.
A penalty gave Bletchley another go, with Lucey running back to the middle of the pitch. a few phases on and Bletchley were tackled out in the middle of their visitor’s half. Kenilworth secured their liner out, worked the ball through the hands and back up to the halfway line. Several phases on and they kicked into open ground, chasing hard and gathering the ball up on the bounce to run in their third try, this time between the posts. A clean boot saw the extras added; 5-17.
With just minutes of play left in the first half, Kenilworth took possession and passed along the line looking for space, then kicked up the pitch. Unfortunately, everyone who chased was in front of the kicker, so Bletchley had the honours just outside Kenilworth’s 22. Lucey tapped the ball and passed out to Beth Metcalf, who saw a gap in the defence and ran in a try to close the gap to 10-17 going into half time.
Bletchley’s kick to open play in the second half didn’t go 10, so Kenilworth had the honours in the scrum in the middle of the pitch. They worked play up to their host’s 22, then on to within five metres of the line, only to have it ripped from a scrum. Bletchley went through the phases, trying to break away, then Kenilworth ripped the ball back, passed along the line and set up a maul, heading for Bletchley’s line. Bletchley held them and won the scrum then began the push to regain lost ground and move away from danger. A penalty from Kenilworth helped, giving Bletchley the line out, just inside their 22. Isla Peters secured the ball and popped it down to Susova, who made a break to the middle of Kenilworth’s half. Another penalty gave Bletchley a line out in the middle of the visitor’s half. Bletchley set up a maul and pushed up the pitch. Another break from Metcalf, with the extras added by Taylor evened the score; 17-17.
Kenilworth’s opening kick barely made ten metres. The resulting scramble for the ball resulted in a knock on from Bletchley, giving Kenilworth the scrum. They passed along the line, then knocked on to give Bletchley the honours. Lucey passed to Taylor, who kicked to touch, givning Kenilworth the lineout. Peters over-turned this, securing the ball for Bletchley. A loose ball gave Kenilworth a chance to clear their lines, trying for touch, but Bletchley took the catch. They couldn’t retain possession, and Kenilworth ran in their fourth try, this time converted, to open the gap again; 17-24.
Bletchley won the honours at a scrum from the restart. Susova picked the ball from the back, resisted Kenilworth’s attempts to get her sown with a handoff, then passed out to Lucey. The ball worked along the line, then Bletchley had a penalty after a high tackle on Peters. After working the ball out to the wing, Bletchley were tackled out, giving Kenilworth the line out, which they secured, running through Bletchley’s line. Taylor gave chase and forced a knock-on. Bletchley secured the ruck, then gave possession back to Kenilworth by holding on. Kenilworth chose to take a scrum, then kicked to touch. a penalty at the line out gave possession back to Bletchley, who chose a scrum to restart. Lucey again passed out to Taylor, but the ball went wide, allowing Kenilworth to gather it and run in the final try; 17-29.