Battling Biggy Ladies Lose Tough Cup Match28th January 2019
Womens Junior Cup 4th Round
Biggleswade Ladies’ cup adventure ended on Sunday after a hard-fought away match against tough opposition.
Hammersmith & Fullham IIs (whose first team play four leagues above Biggy) proved too fast and clinical for the battling Biggy side.
One glance at the final score would suggest that this was a walkover for the Hammers, but Biggleswade left the field with their heads held high, after giving their all and refusing to make it easy for the home side.
Coaches and supporters agreed that despite the losing margin it was a great defensive performance from the still fledgling Biggy side, who forced Hammersmith & Fullham to go through phase after phase before they could break through the Biggleswade line.
The performance was extra impressive, considering that the Biggy backs couldn’t have been more out of position if they’d been reading the Kama Sutra upside down. (Regular number 9 Holly Crawford was off gallivanting on some mountain, captain and fly-half Charlie Field was recovering from a concussion/preparing for a fancy new haircut, and winger Kayleigh Jean was prancing about on a netball court somewhere, probably).
Hammersmith & Fullham showed signs of strong rucking skills and a quick back line right from the start. With seven subs on the bench compared to Biggleswade’s lone replacement, they had youth and numbers on their side.
It wasn’t long before Hammers stole the ball in the middle of the park and worked it out wide for the winger to run in for her first try.
Biggleswade’s defence was solid, soaking up sustained pressure, and keeping the home side in their own half. But Hammers were patient, working through phase after phase to eventually suck Biggleswade in and create gaps they were then able to exploit, scoring twice more by the 30 minute mark.
Biggy’s line press and tackling was strong, with a huge amount of work going on as Hammers dominated possession. Clare Goldsmith, in her first game as cover for No 10, put in a ferocious performance, having to react quickly and deal with relentless pressure from the opposition 9 when she did have the ball.
Biggy’s communication was good, particularly from the mighty second row Clare Watson, already proving an intimidating handful for Hammers, whose bellow of ‘NO 9! NO 9!’ was rumoured to have stopped play in the silly roundy ball match going on at nearby Craven Cottage.
A penalty for hands in the ruck saw Biggy kick to touch and set up a great maul from the lineout, before passing the ball out in a good position, but an unfortunate knock-on from Sarah Ashby meant the promising attack broke down short of the line. The fact she’d sustained an early ‘hurty’ finger in the game (dislocated and later found to be broken with a snapped ligament) will obviously be trotted out as some kind of excuse…
Biggy won the resulting scrum against the head, building up some steam. New player Penny George made an amazing interception before crashing over the line, only to be turned and held up before she could ground the ball. Her efforts didn’t go unrewarded, though, as another big scrum from Biggleswade gave No 8 Amy Schiller the platform to pick and go and score a hard-earned and richly deserved try for the team.
Hammersmith & Fullham continued their strong rucking and ball retention, with that pesky back line pouncing when the Biggy defence was worn down and losing numbers outside. They ran in twice more to make the half time score 27-5, despite several fantastic cover tackles (and one doolally one) from Biggy fullback Anna Kolańczyk, continuing her never-ending 100mph search from some more vowels for her surname.
With players being winded, carrying knocks, muscle spasms, dead arms, (and some just suffering in general from being geriatric) Biggleswade knew it would be hard to soak up Hammers pressure for another 40 minutes.
Sure enough, the home side were able to notch up more points in the second half, thanks to strong running breaks – usually after several phases of play. Biggleswade were still hitting them hard.
Emma Merrett switched from flanker to fullback showing off her lungpower in all senses of the word – both with her awesome fitness levels and her BRILLIANTLY DEAFENING INSTRUCTIONS to roll left and right and do the hokey cokey.
There was no doubt that Hammersmith did deserve a big win, but Biggleswade simply refused to let their heads drop, playing with real spirit, and never giving up.
Forward of the match went to Leigh Frost (sponsored by Mithril Packaging) for strong scrum work and excellent defensive pressing, whilst Anna Kolańczyk (sponsored by TASL) won Back of the Match for a full-on fearsome full back performance.
A special mention goes to the coach driver, who drove us 0.7 miles to the pub, allowing us to recover from the shock of finding out Hammers DON’T HAVE A BAR. We can only apologise to him for Willy’s atrocious singing on the way back home.
Final score: Hammersmith & Fullham IIs 67-5 Biggleswade Ladies
Next game is home in the league against Bishops Stortford on Sunday Feb 3, kick-off 2pm.
PICTURE CREDIT: Photos by Carl Wolfenden