Rugby Lionesses 84 Dudley Kinswinford Ladies 7Sun 16 Feb


When the Rugby Lionesses played their return match 7 days after losing on a very muddy pitch in driving rain at Dudley Kingswinford, many things about the game were different.


The Lionesses had a good squad of regular players available, the weather was sunny and the pitch offered a good surface for playing rugby. Dudley did turn up, which was good of them as they were short of a full match squad, and their players were from their regular squad. With a 12-a-side game decided on, the Lionesses were still at a disadvantage in terms of size as the DK players distributed among the backs as well as the forwards were in general much bigger and heavier.


But the Lionesses were clearly well up for the game because they wanted to make up for the previous week’s defeat and because they are real rugby enthusiasts.


The Lionesses then proceeded to play superbly from the first whistle with solid defence and an unstoppable sequence of runs from the backs that meant tries were scored at regular intervals throughout the game from the very first minute.


Left wing Sophie Plackett-Smith showed great speed and determination in equalling the Lions record with a brilliant 6 tries in a league game and centre Michelle Ponter scored 3, almost all the tries from these two ladies coming from scintillating long runs but the work had been done by the forwards and their fellow backs moving the ball  purposefully and accurately for the runners to be able to show their ability.


The whole-team nature of the performance was demonstrated by the other points scorers with 2 tries each from flankers Sian Harrison (including a mazy run) and Sophi Kowalowski Fry. Fly half Hollie Adams scored the other try with full back Kerry Jackson converting 7 of the tries.


As ever, Rugby were driven on by the words of coach Barry Rees and the words and actions of skip Gemma Booker – and even more vocally when Gemma was sidelined with a yellow card for a technical offence defending on the Lionesses’ tryline when a rare Dudley attack finally brought them a solitary try.


Despite the impressive scoreline, this was still a game that had to be fought for so that the Lionesses could feel the previous week’s events had been avenged. They had to cope with the visitors’ much heavier squad - and took a few heavy blows in doing so - and their defensive organisation and their tackling had to earn them the positions from which to set up so many scoring opportunities.


Rugby Lionesses will enjoy the improving pitches and they can look forward to matching themselves against a range of sides in their busy run in to the end of their season.


Rugby Lionesses: Jackson, Plackett-Smith, Ponter, G Booker, Maher, Adams, N Morris, L Kowalowski Fry, Noakes, Hibberd, Moore, B Morris, S Kowalowski Fry, Harrison, Sadler. Reps: Boikovs, Cawte, Leighton

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