Bletchley Ladies topped their season off with a successful defence of their title for the Alliance Cup.
This year they face Old Northamptonians, who were not going to give it to them on a plate. They had a strong defensive line and made Bletchley work for their points.
Bletchley opened the scoring just two minutes into the game with a lovely try off the back of the scrum, popped out from Beth Metcalf to Emma Lucey who swung round the side and popped the ball down. Her sister, Rae Taylor added the extras; 0 – 7.
ONs fought back and put the pressure on, forcing errors from the Bletchley side, but eventually they settled, pushing up to ONs 22. A penalty from Bletchley gave ONs a kick to touch, crossing the line 10m outside their 22. They won the lineout, but dropped the ball, which was safely gathered by Clare Stacey who ran in Bletchley’s 2nd try, this time just missing the bar; 0 – 12. Just three minutes later Stacey did it again, taking the score to 0 – 19, with the help of Taylor’s boot.
ONs came back with renewed vigour and pushed play into Bletchley’s half of the pitch. A couple of penalties from Bletchley helped them on their way, to finally get their first points on the score board; 5 – 19.
Bletchley kicked deep for the restart; ONs gathered the ball and ran up, only to have it ripped to give Bletchley the advantage. A forward pass might have lost it, but a kick from the back on ONs scrum was secured by Jodie Dimmock, who ran back. The ball popped through the hands of Stacey, Claire Haines to Hannah Prescott, who put it down to move the score to 5 – 24. The final points of the first half were taken in the last play. ONs had a scrum in the middle of Bletchley’s half, which they secured. They pushed up, then gave a penalty. Lucey took this as a quick tap and passed out along the line. A sweet switch swung play back round, then the ball passed out to Stacey. Stacey powered down the pitch to take her third try. Taylor made sure of the extras; 5 – 31.
Bletchley started the second half in much the same manner as the first; just two minutes in they added to the score sheet, this time courtesy of Betty Susova. A nice little pop from Taylor helped things along too; 5 – 38. Momentum slowed for a bit, with ONs pushing Bletchley hard, but eight minutes later Bletchley found a way through, with Jodie Denton picking the ball from the back of a ruck and driving through over the line. Taylor was on target too; 5 – 45.
Finally, it was Taylor’s turn to take a try of her own. She started the play with a break from Bletchley’s territory, to run up to the middle of ONs ground. The chase caught her, but Bletchley patiently worked through the phases till there was another opportunity. Finally, the ball was passed out to Taylor from the back of a ruck on the 22; she caught it cleanly, gathered it in and ran for the line to open the gap to 5 – 52.
Taylor took the catch from the shallow kicked restart and ran up. ONs ripped the ball from a ruck, then dropped it; Bletchley took the opportunity offered and passed along the line. one ruck, then a couple more passes found Stacey again, who ran in her fourth between the posts. Taylor popped it through; 5 – 59.
ONs kick was deep this restart, but safely taken by Dimmock, who passed it on. Bletchley were run out, giving a line out to ONs, which they secured. However, they couldn’t find a gap in the Bletchley defence, and remained just 20m inside Bletchley territory. Eventually, Bletchley forced a knock on, taking the scrum and pushing up. ONs managed to get a hand to the ball between passes, knocked it back, then were driven out, giving Bletchley the line out near the middle of the pitch. This wasn’t straight, so ONs opted for a scrum. They won this, then knocked on. The referee played advantage, but when none accrued, took play back for Bletchley’s scrum, 10m inside ONs half. This was secured, with the ball passing out to Lucey, who made a break to the 22. A high tackle from ONs was indicated, but again, the referee played advantage; Bletchley passed the ball out to Stacey, who popped it down for her final try. Taylor booted it through the posts; 5 – 64.
ONs were not giving up the fight yet though. They took full advantage of a couple of handling errors from Bletchley, worked the ball, then made a break to take their second try, complete with extras; 12 – 66.
The final try of the game came from a late substitution. Caroline collie, just returning from a serious operation on two broken fingers, came on for the last five minutes of the game. Bletchley kicked deep for the restart, which was taken on the bounce by ONs. They kicked it down the field but found Dimmock, who ran it back. A penalty from Bletchley gave ONs a chance; a quick tap was driven forward, then several phases where worked through as they tried to gain ground, before a knock on gave possession back to Bletchley. A scrum just 15m into ONs territory was secured by Lucey; she ran around the side, then passed the ball on. Bletchley worked the ball up the pitch, then passed along the line. the ball found collie’s hands, who ran it in for the final try of the game. Taylor completed the job, to give a final score of 12 – 73, and Bletchley had retained the Alliance cup!
The ladies have completed all their games for this season now, and a pretty successful season it’s been; league champions and winners of the Alliance Cup for the second year in a row. Bletchley Ladies are a friendly, welcoming squad who train at Manor Fields on a Wednesday night, 7.00 – 8.30pm. They play hard, both on and off the pitch! We are always open to new recruits, whatever level you play at. If you think you’d like to be involved with this successful squad, come along and give us a try. For further information, contact Sally Peters, firstname.lastname@example.org, or just turn up on Wednesday, with your boots, and see what we’re about.