Bletchley Ladies returned to winning ways in style as they beat Canterbury Ladies 15-0 at Manor Fields on Sunday to progress to the semi finals of the Junior Cup.
After seeing the end of their 23 month run without a league defeat last week against Olney, Bletchley were eager to get back to business.
Bletchley took the opening kick, which Canterbury caught cleanly and immediately pushed up, recycling the ball well to gain territory. Bletchley defended well, and after 10 minutes, managed to gain possession, kicking to touch. Canterbury won their line out, then knocked on to give possession back to Bletchley. The ball from the back of the scrum was popped back to Rachael Taylor, who tapped it over the heads to gain ground. A forward pass from Canterbury gave Bletchley the scrum to build on this, further helped by a penalty form Canterbury for not being bound at the scrum. Bletchley took full advantage, worked the ball up the pitch. Progression faltered briefly as the Ladies conceded a penalty, coming in from the side, but they kept the pressure up, forcing a return penalty from Canterbury. Emma Taylor took a quick tap, wove her way through Canterbury’s defence and put the ball down over the line, giving Bletchley the opening score 15 minutes into the game: 5 – 0.
Bletchley took the ball from the restart kick and immediately pushed forward again. Canterbury were having none of this, and met the Ladies with the same determination. They managed to gain possession and pushed up into the Bletchley half. As they worked their way up the pitch, Bletchley had to draw on all their reserves to hold them out close to the line. Bletchley succeeded in holding a Canterbury maul, giving them the scrum, just 5m out. They were then awarded a free kick for an infringement in the scrum, moving the ball safely away from the line. A knock on from Canterbury as they tried to take the catch further helped. As Bletchley tried to move back out of their half, Canterbury tackled a player out, taking the line out. Fortunately, Bletchley had a good jump and took the ball back and continued to claw back some territory. Both sides conceded penalties as they tried to take control of the game, but Bletchley continued to slowly work their way up the pitch, going through phase after phase, waiting for the opportunity to take more points. Finally, Beth Metcalf secured the ball at a line out, passed it out to Rachael Taylor, who saw a gap and made a break for the line. She took the points as the clock wound down for the end of the first half: 10 – 0 at half time.
From the start of the second half, it was obvious Canterbury were not going to roll over and give the game. They ran up on their opening kick and took possession, then pushed up. 10 minutes of pressure put them back on the Bletchley 5m line. Bletchley managed to tackle them out to take the line out. The ball passed through the hands, then a knock on gave possession back to Canterbury, still within sight of the Bletchley line. The Bletchley ladies dug in, defending hard. They again managed to win a line out at 5m, but failed to hold possession, giving Canterbury another chance. Both sides conceded penalties, but despite Bletchley’s best efforts, Canterbury remained camped on their line. Finally, Rachael Taylor found her trusty boot and lobbed the ball up the pitch. Canterbury were having none of it and came straight back at them, but Bletchley’s pressure slowly began to tell, and they slowly worked their way up the pitch, patiently waiting their opportunity. Eventually their patience paid off. Emma Taylor snaffled the ball from a Canterbury ruck, passed out to Olivia Calloway who pushed on. A quick pop back to Taylor was moved on to Emily Gauci, who took the ball over the line for Bletchley’s third try: 15 – 0, with just 5 minutes to go.
Canterbury’s heads still didn’t go down. They were determined they were going to take some points home, after their long drive! Bletchley gave them a helping hand, knocking on as they tried to take the ball from the restart. Canterbury made full use of the resulting scrum, pushing back towards the Bletchley line. Bletchley managed to tackle them out, but couldn’t keep the throw straight in the line out, giving Canterbury another chance with a scrum. They passed the ball out, then set up a drive, pushing on the line. In the last minute of the game, they broke from the maul and put the ball down over the line. Final score: 15–0, and a semi-final place for Bletchley for the second year in a row.
Next week Bletchley Ladies return to their league matches with a home game against Old Newtonians.