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Keresley Ladies 25 Rugby Lionesses 27Sun 06 Oct

What a brilliant and brave victory for the Rugby Lionesses against a very strong Keresley side who had previously beaten Rugby’s best opponents to date Stafford by 30-19.

The Lionesses were missing a number of players due to injury but their pride was shown by novice players stepping up to the mark and proving ready to compete against a well drilled Keresley who were fielding a strong pack.

The Lionesses’ defence was challenged from the whistle with the home side’s strong attacks. Several knock ons and inaccurate passes in combination with the pitch’s slope and a stiff breeze allowed the home side to establish a 10-0 lead after just 11 minutes’ play.

Then after 20 minutes the Lionesses suffered a double injury and the Keresley pack took advantage soon afterwards and won the ball from a Lioness scrum to score a third try to look comfortable leading 15-0 at the half-time whistle.

On the restart, the Lionesses did not appear to let the scoreline affect them and they immediately exerted some sustained pressure and used their passing and control at the breakdown to outflank the home pack for winger Hollie Adams to score her side’s first points.

Keresley responded straightaway with their fourth try only for the Lionesses to themselves reply when right wing Emily Stafford scored her first try for the Lionesses following a penalty for a high tackle on Hollie Adams.

The Keresley defence put up a good display with hard tackling and attempts at counter attacking but the Lionesses seemed resilient to this. A very fluent passing sequence showed that the Lionesses did not believe they were beaten despite injuries to captain Gemma Booker and lock Liz Moore, who needed a hospital visit for a lump on her head.

As the second half continued, the Lionesses were spurred on by their travelling supporters including Rugby Lions deputy chairman Jeff Nowill and they proceeded to move the ball across the back line to stretch the home defence for Hollie Adams to score her second try to close the scores to 20-19 as the game entered the final quarter.

The Lionesses’ level of fitness allowed them to up their pace continued to up the pace and with slick hands they passed the ball out quickly to Hollie Adams, allowing her to stretch her legs and cross the tryline after a terrific 55-metre run to give her side the lead for the first time at 20-24.

However, with 4 minutes left on the clock, Keresley regained the lead with another forward’s try which seemed to have snatched victory out of the Lionesses’ claws at 25-24.

But the Lionesses’ pride meant they didn’t accept they were beaten and their pressure brought two penalties in quick succession. The second one was within range for fly half Hayley Richardson and she coolly sent the ball between the posts to prompt the Lionesses to celebrate a fabulous 25-27 victory that the whole squad and coaching team thoroughly deserved.

Rugby Lionesses: Jackson, Stafford, Ponter, G Booker (C), Adams, Richardson, Brady, Hibberd, T Booker, Spall, Moore, Morris, Judd, Harrison, Sadler. Reps: Cawte, Boikovs, Leighton, Trimm.

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