Match Report - Sirens U15 v Lichfield third round Area Cup pool match
Siren's bring out the sunshine on a gloomy day!
It was a damp gloomy afternoon but thankfully it had stopped raining.
Our players arrived excited for the match and hoping to continue their successful RFU Girls Cup pool run. Cheshire County kit was being given out today so that added some extra spice!
All the pre-match talk was about how many players Lichfield would actually bring - eight was the magic number (a full team compromises thirteen players).
We kicked-off to them and instantly you knew this wasn’t a Lichfield side thrown together, they came at us like ‘hungry dogs’. Initially we were under a lot of pressure but our line speed was excellent and we weren’t missing tackles, making them force their passes. Eventually this resulted in an error with Lichfield ‘knocking the ball on’ just inside their ten metre line.
Scrum to the Sirens with a chance to finally get our hands on the ball. Unfortunately, we were shunted off the ball and driven backwards at a rate of knots. Knowing how well our front row had performed in previous games the spectators looked on in some disbelief.
The girls gathered themselves and started back with a strong defence against a team who had come to claim an away Cup win. We weren’t just defending but we were hitting rucks forcing players backwards until we finally got a turn over and soon ‘the tide’ turned. They might have played like ‘Hungry Dogs’ but we were ‘Hungry Wolves’. Lichfield thought they had pace to out run us but we didn’t just have the pace to match them but pace in reserve, offering no ‘easy breakaway’ tries for them to score against us!
We then let several try scoring opportunities go begging - a ‘final’ long pass got caught in the wind and Katie couldn’t quite get her hands on it to score, then Scarlett was stopped just short of the line and Holly actually got over the line but was turned on her back – held up, so no try awarded.
With Lichfield’s try line at our mercy we knocked-on inside their twenty-two for yet another missed chance. Maybe it wasn’t going to be our day after all? Orlagh had different plans though. She wanted to make amends for the knock-on and chased down one of their wingers, forcing her to drop the ball as she ‘smashed’ her out of the way. Jess picked up and passed to Abi who fed the ball out wide to Daisy who put Zoe through a hole in the Lichfield defence. Zoe was almost over but gave a lovely one handed off load to Scarlett who arriving on a brilliant angle and moving like a freight train smashed through the last two covering defenders to open the scoring for us under their posts. (7-0) Scarlett converted.
In the process of scoring Scarlett had unfortunately injured one of their players - meaning the match was down to seven-a-side from now on! Lichfield weren’t going to ‘roll over’ and they made a lovely break down their right wing which would have resulted in a fifty metre breakaway try but for Orlagh’s last ditch tackle bringing her down short and so keeping us in front.
Our tails were up as we were starting to play the better rugby. Lichfield were trying to hang on but eventually our continued pressure led to Holly using her pace to ‘dance’ around their winger and score under the posts. (14-0) Scarlett converted.
Half time and time for some player changes, Welcome Anya to the game and what an impact she made - beating players for fun and scoring a great try after teaming up with Jess who seemed to be popping up everywhere. (19-0)
Rolling substitutions were in ‘full flight’ now. Almost every player who started was now off and so virtually a complete new team faced Lichfield. Caitlin was giving them a taste of their own medicine in the scrums, Theo and Josie hitting hard in the middle and Lily making try saving tackles. Beth had a big grin on her face knowing she had just ‘smashed’ one their big runners. Katie was back on for Abi at a time when it looked like the game was completely under our control. However, with far too many simultaneous substitutions going on it had upset our overall balance of play. Lichfield with their team of all strong County players took full advantage. Their good hard runners broke through down the left wing to score in the corner. (19-5)
Almost immediately after the kick-off Lichfield again broke free. Lily came flying across, probably the only player on the pitch fast enough to catch their speedster winger, but just as Lily dived for yet another ‘trade mark’ covering tackle their winger changed direction and alas Lily could not quite hold on resulting in Lichfield scoring under our posts. (19-10)
At this point Brendan was about to ‘throw’ the last of our squad girls on but was caught in two minds: do we risk losing a game we fought so hard to win or do we give every girl game time?
Brendan chose to close out the game so back on went the forwards ‘cavalry’ - Zoe, Daisy and Scarlett who not only stopped Lichfield from playing but the three of them combined with a passage of superb offload play to eventually set Daisy free to score near their posts (26-10). Scarlett converted.
All too soon the match was over as the overall match playing had been reduced due to it only being played as a seven-a-side match at the end.
Jess Kershaw was voted our player of the match and hopefully we’ll present her with the trophy next week as the current holder Emily was ill and unavailable to play today and so the trophy temporarily remains on her shelf!
Well done everyone and apologies once again to players who didn’t get any or much game time this week.
To put this in perspective, we are currently leading our RFU Girls Cup group against other teams which have Women’s premiership clubs at the helm namely Worcester and Lichfield - imagine the structures they have in place throughout their clubs.
Once again the Siren’s have shown them that we have a successful/talented squad of players with a great team spirit who are able to beat other teams whether they ‘field’ seven or thirteen players - well done girls we are very proud of you all.
Match Report by Marcus and Brendan