Barnstorming win for Biggleswade Ladies in their first ever match25th October 2017
St Neots Ladies 24 – 36 Biggleswade Ladies
Biggleswade Ladies XV gave themselves a huge confidence boost with an impressive win away at St Neots in stormy winds on Saturday October 21.
After many years of there being no Ladies team at the club – and with the Biggleswade squad on the day including 11 players who had never played a match before – this friendly fixture against an established league club was always going to be steep learning curve for the new side.
But injuries and unavailability meant St Neots only had a dozen players for the match – some of whom were playing out of position – and this gave the inexperienced Biggleswade side a fighting chance, which they grabbed with both hands.
Generously lending their opponents the players they needed to make up the XV, Biggleswade (playing against the wind) started brightly right out of the blocks, looking strong in the tackle, and pinning St Neots back in their own half for large portions of the first half of the game.
Great commitment from the Biggleswade pack in the scrum, and a couple of collapses from the St Neots side, led to the referee switching to uncontested scrums.
With possession and territory came tries.
Biggleswadeâ€™s No.8, Amy Schiller was a shoe-in for woman of the match with a barnstorming performance, smashing through their defensive line on numerous occasions, and notching up a hat-trick of breakaway tries, all starting 30m or more from the try-line.
Flanker Rachel Poulson put her body on the line with some fierce running, tackling and rucking; lock Leigh Frost gained ground with some strong hits; and scrum-half Holly Crawford showed a cool head, getting passes away under pressure, and firing the ball to the backs when the chances were on.
Biggleswadeâ€™s relative inexperience and lack of any previous game time meant tactical errors and lack of game awareness was bound to mean chances for the opposition. So it proved, with St Neots mounting a second half comeback, and their battling No. 7 leading the charge after turnover ball.
But as St Neots began to notch up some tries, Biggleswade didnâ€™t panic, learning from their mistakes, and improving the defensive line. Captain and fly-half Charlie Field led by example, marshalling the troops, showing good vision and decision-making and topping off an excellent performance with two tries (one set up by centre Teri Taylor flying down the wing, harking back to her glory days in the original Biggleswade Ladies side). Charlie also slotted away three conversions.
Full-back Vicki Marshall ran half the length of the pitch for Biggleswadeâ€™s final try, bombing down the wing and having the nous to run round and place the ball nearer the posts.
Captain Charlie Field was full of praise for the whole Biggleswade squad after their first game, and paid tribute to the â€˜loanâ€™ players for agreeing to turn out for the opposition, despite being desperately keen to play for their own side.
Charlie said: â€œIâ€™m hugely proud of all our players – weâ€™ve come such a long way in a few short months, and everyone stepped up. Weâ€™ve got lots to work on, but for a first match a win was a brilliant achievement.â€
Biggleswade’s No.8 Amy Schiller, scorer of three tries, on another driving run Photo by Ray Markus