Lionesses 10 Five Ways OE 10
With the Lionesses aware of the recent improvement of Five Ways side they beat decisively at their south Birmingham ground in November, Rugby knew they were in for a tight game. But neither side would have anticipated such an attritional battle played on a good surface but with a gale blowing and frequent spells of driving rain.
As usual, Rugby were giving away weight in the pack but the Lionesses made up for it with such solid tackling from their backs as well as their forwards.
Rugby had the wind advantage first but they found it hard to create room for runs towards the Five Ways line. But some sustained pressure paid off when right wing Sophie Plackett-Smith was sent down her touchline to score.
On 25 minutes, it was left wing Emily Stafford who showed the finishing ability with her try giving the Lionesses a 10-0 advantage.
But Rugby could not build on the lead before having to play into the elements as Five Ways at last found a way to play in the home half for the final minutes of the first half.
Five Ways had one dominant player who was to prove a real thorn in the sides of the Lionesses as both teams continued to fight over possession and to gain just a few yards at a time.
Both teams suffered regular injuries but it was noticeable how any players hurt either tried to play on or wanted to get back on the pitch after some treatment or a breather.
Five Ways now looked a more threatening side as their star player orchestrated all their moves and she opened their account with a try she also converted for 10-7 on 48 minutes.
Soon after, a penalty kick by the same player levelled the scores and with the wind and the rain even stronger, it was going to be a torrid last quarter for the Lionesses.
But the Lionesses produced a terrific spell of rearguard defence and they should feel really proud of the commitment and courage they showed in never shirking a tackle to save their bodies from hurting.
Rugby Lionesses: Boikovs, Plackett-Smith, Ponter, G Booker, Stafford, Adams, N Morris, L Kowalowski Fry, Noakes, Hibberd, Moore, S Kowalowski Fry, Cawte, Harrison, Sadler. Reps: Umney, B Morris, Leighton, Withers, Maher