Published 25th April 2019
Haverhill Ladies v Biggleswade Ladies
Biggleswade Ladies followed up their strong finish coming second in the league with a friendly away at Haverhill on Easter Sunday.
Played in blazing 24 degree heat, the game was a fun spectacle for supporters from both teams. Biggleswade ran in 10 tries, despite valiant defence and strong tackling from the fledging Haverhill side, who never let their heads drop.
It was a great advert for women’s rugby, finishing with cooling waterfights and silly songs in the sunshine.
Key roles for Biggleswade were filled by players who were out of position, several trying out a new number for the first time. Jo Treverton took on the role of hooker, Emma Merrett moved from flanker to scrum half, Bev Horsefield stepped in at No 8, guest player from Fullerians, Jess Davies, filled in for Biggy’s unavailable fly-half Charlie Field, and prop Drea Lee took on Charlie’s captain’s mantle for the day.
From the start it was clear that the conditions were going to be stiflingly hot in the scrums – and perfect for running rugby.
Jess Davies stretched her legs immediately from Haverhill’s kick-off to score after an powerful sprint from her own half. Haverhill showed determination trying to run her down but couldn’t catch her.
Lauren Poole, a touch rugby player, was a revelation for Biggy right from the off, battering her way down the wing and then collecting a neat offload to make a 60m run to score – 10 minutes into her first ever game of full-contact rugby.
Haverhill responded well, and built-up some sustained pressure, advancing to within 5 metres of Biggy’s tryline. Some great defensive tackles, including a flattener from the fearsome Lauren, got Biggy out of trouble and the team were soon on the attack again.
Tash Cooper, returning to Biggy’s wing after work commitments kept her away for much of the season, made some ultra fast dashes, including a great step-in and offload to centre Kayleigh Jean, who took on the Haverhill defence and passed inside to Jess, who scored her second try.
Emma settled in to the number 9 role, growing in confidence in her decision-making as the game continued, feeding the ball out to the backs after strong forward drives and crunching tackles from the formidable Bev, Clare Watson and Steph Cooper.
Drea put in a great shift as captain, using her experience to marshal the troops and make some big hits, her experience counting.
Young Rhiannon Smith, playing her first full 80 minutes in the second row, looked stong, making good ground with a fabulous fingertip pick-up and carry.
Sophie Earls’ blue scrumcap wove its usual heat-seeking missile paths around the pitch, the highlight of her game a deadly double-tackle on the wing to break down a promising Haverhill attack.
Kayleigh and Anna Kolanscyk were a fast and furious combination of centres, continuously breaking through the gain line and making huge yardage, and it was strong carry and link-up play between them that set-up Jess for her hattrick.
Anna herself then charged forward to score her first and Biggleswade’s fifth after another lung-busting burst from Lauren from the halfway line to make the half-time score 27-0 to Biggy.
The second half continued in a similar vein – strong running from Biggleswade, great commitment from Haverhill, but better structure and explosive pace from the visitors proving too much for the home side.
Winger Chloe White made several good runs, only bundled into touch by a last-ditch tackle. Lauren continued to use her strength and speed to shrug off and step through tacklers, scoring her second early on, and then setting up Kayleigh for a try of her own.
The forwards love it when they put in a tough shift to set up the backs and are rewarded with spot-on handling from the speedsters. Anna did a 60m charge for her second try, and Jess did the same for her fourth, making the score 51-0, before Lauren got a hat-trick debut after a brilliant catch from a loose pass high above her head.
Forward of the match was Jo Treverton (sponsored by Growing Greens) for great work in her debut as hooker, including a cheeky side-step and off-load that wrong-footed the opposition tackler.
There was strong competition for back of the match – particularly from Jess Davies, who put in a hugely impressive performance – but debutant Lauren Poole had to gain the honour for a storming first game.
Final score Haverhill Ladies 0 – 58 Biggleswade Ladies
Many thanks to Haverhill Ladies for their hospitality and great attitude on and off the pitch. It was a brilliant sight to see supporters and players all smiling at the end of a tough, energy-sapping game. Good luck to Haverhill for next season.
PICTURE CREDITS: Photos by Carl Wolfenden