Two wins from two games for Royal Navy Women
RN Women XV
Portsmouth Ladies RFC
The Royal Navy Women faced up to their second opponents of the season, Portsmouth Ladies RFC, on Wednesday evening at HMS Collingwood. Due to the lack of a fully qualified RN front row the game was played with uncontested scrums from the off. The delayed kick off didn’t seem to affect the RN Women and they started extremely brightly, reclaimed the ball from the off and began with some pleasing phases of play. They stretched their opponents and began exerting their dominance, maintaining control of the ball and built up the pressure. A deft cross field kick by the RN outside half, from open play, almost saw the RN on the score sheet however some last ditch, scrambled defence by the Portsmouth Ladies thwarted a possible score. Portsmouth Ladies were however unable to maintain their defence and a bulldozing run from the RN second row, Fiesha Green saw her break through half a dozen tackles and score in the corner for the opening try. 5-0 to the RN with 6 minutes on the clock.
The RN continued to dominate possession and territory and really took the game to Portsmouth Ladies. However Portsmouth Ladies rallied and began to slowly get a foothold into the game. The RN switched from attack to defence and managed to deal with some impressive direct running by the Portsmouth Ladies with some strong defence, particularly from the RN loose forwards. The tide seemed to turn and the RN were now hanging on and gifting Portsmouth Ladies with possession and territory through ill-discipline at the break down, something that the coaching staff will no doubt work on. The RN continued to defend bravely but were unable to prevent Portsmouth Ladies from levelling the scores on the half hour mark as Portsmouth Ladies, after many phases of play, broke down the RN defence and scored out wide, 5-5. Portsmouth missed the conversion but were soon back on the attack and were unfortunate not to take the lead, being held up over the try line. Half time and the game was level.
Portsmouth Ladies began the second half the more brightly and were rewarded for their early dominance and further RN ill-discipline, with another score out wide to lead 5-10 on 49 mins. Portsmouth Ladies taking the lead appeared to rally the RN. A strong line break by Izzy Rawlinson and a 60 metre run enabled the RN to relieve the pressure they had been under and some good clearing out at the breakdown to allow quick ball resulted in a try under the posts which was converted by Sarah Jenkins. The RN retook the lead 12-10.
Strong running by Portsmouth Ladies was met by a solid defensive line by the RN and possession and territory were shared. The strong defence lead to the next try. A great turn over by the RN at the breakdown allowed them to clear their lines. A clean take at the resulting line out and another line break almost lead to another score by the RN, however a last ditch tackle by the Portsmouth Ladies full back, Goodwin, only delayed the inevitable as the RN captain, Charlie Fredrickson crossed the line to extend the RN lead 17-10. The game continued to ebb and flow however a head injury to one of the Portsmouth Ladies meant the game was ended slightly prematurely on 71 mins.
Overall another win for the Royal Navy Women whose 2017 campaign has started brightly. As always there are many areas for the coaching team to work on but the strong nucleus of player can take confidence into the season and continue from strength to strength.
Team List: Alice Kightley, Kiera Gavan, Becky Deacon, Fiesha Greene, Abi Gilbertson, Anne-Marie McIntyre, Charlie Fredrickson (c), Stacy Hargrave, Kirsty Marlor, Sarah Jenkins, Drew Powell, Nic Elvidge, Emma Swinton, Billie Staite, Izzy Rawlinson, Laura Blagdon.
Words by T Westwood
Images Royal Navy Rugby Union © Keith Woodland