This weekend was yet another fantastic milestone in what is proving to be an amazing season for our Girls Section.
On Friday we were delighted to hear that Lauryn Walter had signed for Wasps, with Laila Hassan hopefully hot on her heels, both having been invited to do pre-season training with them, it shows how far we have come in just 9 years since the Girls Section was founded by David McGuigan. But this is just the tip of a talent mountain, we had three girls selected to join the Harlequins Centre of Excellence (Renae Baker, Laila Hassan & Lauryn Walter), six girls that have been offered scholarships to Trailfinders Rugby Academy at Brunel University (Laila Hassan, Lauryn Walter, Estelle Tracey, Toni Norman, Florence Kirsten-Foster and Renae Baker) and yet more invited to England training for the fast growing U20s Touch Rugby programme.
All of this positive news was a fantastic backdrop to the excellent season being enjoyed by our talented Under 15 squad who prepared with great enthusiasm on Sunday for their National Girls Cup Quarter Final showdown with Guildfordians.
Ahead of the game, the girls met promptly at 9:45 in the club house for a relaxed breakfast and an opportunity to take their minds, even if just temporarily, off the game. In the spirit of rugby, OR’s were joined for breakfast by their opponents, Guildfordians and celebrated the fact that Surrey RFU is the only county that had both of their representatives make it through to the quarter finals of the nationals. Old friends and rivals, no matter the result of today, the losing team would be sure to support and cheer on the winner in the rest of the tournament.
When ready, the girls got themselves sorted and had a thorough warm up ahead of the 12:30 Kick Off. When ready, the girls made their way out onto the pitch and were applauded by a large crowd that had gathered to watch the game.
The game couldn’t have started any better for ORs as after some big tackles by the forwards, ORs won the ball and got it out wide. Lily Woodhams found herself with space on the wing and after spinning round one defender and handing off the next, sprinted the rest of the way to score the opening try under the posts which was duly converted by Rose Lacey. 7-0 up and only 5 minutes played. ORs dominated the opening 15 minutes of the match, keeping possession and finding some good field position, the resulting pressure finally took its toll on Guildfordians and a hard-running crash ball by Elsa Lenihan resulted in the second try under the posts. Rose’s kicking boot took the score to 14-0.
OR’s forwards were on great form winning ruck ball after ruck ball, with great distribution by scrum halves Caitlin McGuigan & Jessie Grant allowing the backs to orchestrate a number of moves, switching play from left wing to right and keeping Guildfordians guessing as to where the next attack was coming from. It wasn’t long before Lily W got her hands on the ball again for her to score her second try of the match, grounding the ball out wide. 19-0 to ORs which would be the score when the half time whistle blew. Full credit must be given to Guildfordians as with most of the possession and territory belonging to OR’s in the first half, their defence stood firm, only conceding three tries.
With a 19-0 lead, if Guildfordians thought that OR’s would hold back in the second half they couldn’t have been more wrong. The Guildfordian kick off bounced into the grateful hands of Lily W who managed to make her way past the whole team to touchdown and score her third try.
OR’s did not however have everything their own way. Despite the score line, Guildfordians battled on and their patience paid off as they did cross ORs try line to score their first try of the match. Although the conversion was missed, OR’s needed to take it up another level in order to prevent Guildfordians getting up a head of steam and making a come back in the way they had against Hitchin. Despite a break in play due to an injury to the opposition, this is exactly what the girls did and, breaking a number of tackles, Lily Britton touched the ball down just short of the try line but a subsequent penalty saw Daisy Varney take a quick touch and dart over the line to score. The conversion put OR’s in a comfortable 31-5 lead. At this stage of the game, the win never looked unlikely but Guildfordians rallied once more to score a converted try.
OR’s would have the final say of the match as a further (her fourth!!) try from Lily W after a storming run from Lily B, and a second try from Elsa saw the home team winning by a comfortable margin of 41-12. Despite the score line, Guildfordians were a formidable opponent and certainly one of the toughest teams that ORs had faced all season.
The win makes Old Reigatian’s London & Southeast Champions and puts them through to the semi-final of the National Girls Cup on March 27th (venue tba), there they will face Winscombe who became Southwest Champions by beating Kingsbridge
Let’s go OR’s !!