Bletchley Ladies survived a second half scare to beat Wymondham Ladies 20-17 on Sunday.
Wymondham opened and a missed catch from Bletchley gave them possession too. This was short-lived, as Bletchley ripped the ball from the resulting ruck. Caroline Collie ran forward, then flung the ball out as she was tackled; Bletchley knocked on, giving Wymondham the scrum. Bletchley put in a big shove, but Wymondham managed to pick the ball from the back and pass it back. The kick went straight out, taking the line out back to the middle of Wymondham’s half. Bletchley secured the line out and worked the ball forward. A high tackle from Wymondham helped their progress. A quick tap and a strong push forward got the ball to Collie who touched it down in the corner to give Bletchley the first points, 0 – 5, three minutes into the game.
Kass Carry took the ball from the restart and drove forward. A tackle knocked the ball back and it was safely gathered by Beth Metcalf. Bletchley pushed on, but a few phases later Wymondham stole a loose ball and set up a maul. Bletchley countered and prevented them from using it. Bletchley took a scrum in the middle of their half and continued their progress, ably assisted by another penalty from their hosts. The kick took play into Wymondham’s half, then they lifted early in the line out to give Bletchley a free kick.
Bletchley continued to work the ball and forced another penalty, and a kick that took Bletchley to their host’s 5m line. Bletchley took the catch and set up a maul pushing to the line, only to have the ball ripped by Wymondham. Fortunately they fell on to touch, giving Bletchley another lineout. The throw wasn’t straight, allowing Wymondham a scrum at 10m; they won this and kicked to touch, but gained little ground, with Bletchley still having a line out within Wymondham’s 22. The hosts took this too, passed back then kicked again, this time managing to clear just out of their 22. Bletchley knocked on at the line out and Wymondham won their resulting scrum, then kicked straight out, bringing the line out back to the original point. This time Wymondham knocked on.
Bletchley used the scrum well and pushed up. Wymondham managed to rip the ball at a ruck to delay progress, kicking it away. However, it didn’t make touch and Bletchley came back at them, drove forward, then the ball went loose at a ruck. Charlotte Gallop quickly gathered it and kicked to touch. Again Wymondham kicked down the pitch from their line out; Jodie Dimmock secured it for Bletchley and pushed up to the 22, setting up a ruck. The ball worked out to Collie who pushed up, then passed out to Clare Stacey who put it down for the points. Again, Collie’s kick just missed the posts for 10-0.
Wymondham dug in now and gave as good as they got. Play moved into Bletchley’s half, and they looked to be making progress. However, a chance kick went straight out, bringing play back to just inside Bletchley’s half. Wymondham secured their line out and pushed further in. A knock on in the middle of the half gave Bletchley room to push back. They moved up to the middle of the host’s ground and worked through the phases. Wymondham ripped a ruck and pushed back into their visitor’s half; a penalty added to their progress. With tenacity they moved up to within 10m of the line, before Betty Susova ripped the ball from a ruck. A high tackle from Wymondham helped further.
Collie kicked down the pitch and made touch, just into the other half. Bletchley didn’t use the maul from the resulting line out, but Wymondham didn’t make touch with their kick. Dimmock took it cleanly again and ran back at them, passed out to Collie, then the ball moved on to Stacey. A penalty at a ruck gave Bletchley a tap and go, then it was their turn to give a penalty. This constant movement between the sides was beginning to look as though the score would stay at 0 -10 for this half, then a lovely series of moves from Bletchley’s own turf moved up the pitch, running and passing till they found Collie, who made a break to take the last points of the half in the final play for 15-0.
Wymondham came back fighting for the second half. They took the ball from the restart and ran into Bletchley’s territory. A penalty assisted further and they moved up to the 22, securing their line out and making Bletchley play to save the points. Bletchley managed to move play out to the middle of the pitch, then another penalty put Wymondham back in touch. They finally put the ball over the line after nine minutes of concerted effort pulling it back to 15-5.
Two minutes on and Bletchley reopened the gap. Wymondham took the ball from the restart but had it ripped at the ruck. Bletchley drove forward and worked through their phases. A penalty just out of the 22 helped further; Bletchley tapped and passed along the line to Collie who ran in the try at 20-5.
Eight minutes later, Wymondham closed the gap further; after another strong push they saw a gap as the ball was passed back from a ruck, sped through and put the ball down between the posts. This time they took the extras to reduce the arrears to 20-12.
The last 20 minutes showed two well matched teams. Each could counter the other and possession ebbed and flowed. Finally, in the last play of the match, Wymondham brought things close and secured their bonus losing point, taking the score to 20-17 but it was not enough to dethrone Bletchley.