Ladies play catch-up in first game of 10s12th February 2019
Biggleswade Ladies 28-33 Welwyn Ladies
Biggleswade Ladies played their first ever game of 10s at the weekend in a rearranged league fixture at home against Welwyn.
Welwyn have been struggling with numbers, postponing this match in December, and only managing to field nine players on Sunday.
From the kick-off, it soon became apparent why Welwyn were keen to play, scoring almost immediately with a break from their strong and quick No. 12, who broke the Biggy line and raced in for her first try of the day.
Nikki Plater, one of Biggleswade’s newest players, got the team’s first points on the board, running in for a debut try as Biggleswade started to adapt their game.
But Welwyn managed twice more to break through with strong running, notching up a lead of 19-7 as Biggleswade took too long to adapt to the unfamiliar format.
As the half progressed, Biggleswade did start to compose themselves and up the pressure, beginning to spread the ball out wide and use the overlap. Just as a try looked likely, centre Clare Goldsmith, playing with her usual grit and gusto, was knocked out cold after falling awkwardly from a big tackle close to Welwyn’s try line. She needed medical attention and the game had to be stopped (she was later given the all clear in hospital and diagnosed with a neck strain, although painful, thankfully not serious). The ref called half time and and the game had to be moved across Langford Road onto the club’s Sheep Walk pitch, with players, supporters, and coaches carrying flags and post protectors and setting up for the second half.
The enforced long break meant there was a danger that Biggy would lose the momentum they’d started to build up, but their game did improve considerably in the second half. No 9 Teri Taylor showed good strength to muscle over the try line and score and rock-solid conversion kicks from battling captain and fly half Charlie Field kept closing the points gap.
Things didn’t quite click on the day, however. Several Biggy handling errors, overruns, and runs into faces not spaces meant that chances to score were squandered, whilst Welwyn, – especially their marauding No 12 – exploited more of their opportunities, ensuring Biggleswade continued to play catch-up.
It was a strong finish from the home side. Replacement winger Holly Crawford broke through to ground the ball after a strong Biggy break. Young winger Chloe White ran round the Welwyn defence to score under the posts, but Biggy ultimately ran out of time.
Another 100% conversion rate for captain Charlie had kept them within touching distance, and the final score was 28-33 – just five points separating the teams.
Biggleswade will rue their missed chances, with plenty of work to do in training to improve their game awareness and decision-making. But Biggy are an inexperienced side missing some influential players, and they learned a lot from their first 10s match. (Note from oldest player on the pitch: “Yes, I learned I’m too old for 10s”).
Welwyn deserve plaudits for their huge commitment and fitness. This was a great win for them considering they were outnumbered, and they showed excellent tactical nous.
Biggleswade’s Forward of the Match was Emma Merrett (sponsored by Ai networks), for some great lineout work and match fitness. Back of the match went to Nikki Plater for her debut try.
PHOTO CREDIT: Pics by Carl Wolfenden