This week saw the start of the knock-out phase of the national Cup, with the winners progressing to the quarter-finals. On a sunny Sunday morning our group of girls travelled to a well-drilled Tunbridge wells U15 team.
Upon our arrival, the home team were already warming up, hitting tackle bags and looking like they had their mind on the game already. Based on their size, one could easily have been mistaken for thinking that the girls warming up were the U18, but no, they were the girls that our much smaller group would be going up against. Anyway, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog that matters and never before have our girls stepped back from bigger opposition!
With the game underway, OR’s set down their early intent by making hard yards with the ball, smashing the rucks and playing with a ferocity that took T-Wells by surprise. It wasn’t long before a well ripped ball from Pip was passed out to Tilly, who, with her quick feet, skipped past a couple of defenders before releasing the ball out to Elsa who stretched her legs and ran in to score the first try of the game. If ORs were nervous, there was no sign of this as from the kick off, the ball was passed down through the backs out wide to Lilly who scored out wide on the other wing, running the ball in from the 22m line.
Even though the game was still young, OR’s were getting into the swing of it and big tackles form our Bethany, Daisy, Elspeth and Holly and a ripped ball from Mia allowed us to regain possession. Ruby, who would go on to cause havoc against her opposite number time and time again in this game, got the ball out to Laura on the other wing who touched down for try number 3. The converted attempt took the score to 19-0 which it is how it would remain until half time. However, despite no further points scored in this half there were some individual moments of brilliance from the team that showed how far they have progressed this season. An unbelievably well taken high ball from Rose at full back who was running at speed deserves a mention and was something that any professional player would be proud off. The half back partnership of Jesse and Tilly allowed ORs to control the backline attack which would ultimately prove to be T-Wells down fall.
The half time whistle blew and ORs had a chance to catch their breath. There would be no let up for T-Wells in the second half as ORs continued to stamp their authority on the game. Although T-Wells had their hands on the ball, good press in defence prevented them leaving their own 22. Fierce tackling from Ella prevented any chance of T-Wells running it out so when they opted to kick, Zoe caught the ball, ran hard and fast to set up a ruck for Lilly to score her second of the game.
In order to keep fresh legs on the pitch, ORs made a number of substitutions which proved decisive. With Misty on the pitch, it was probably the wrong person to kick a restart to. A quickly taken ball was given to Misty who broke through numerous tackles to run the ball under the posts from the half way line. The subsequent conversation took the score to 31-0. Despite a new front row line up which now the scrum held firm despite pressure from T-wells putting on a squeeze. Despite this, a couple of balls won against the head allowed the likes of Tess, Elsie, Olivia and Jocelyn to get their hands on the ball and take it T-Wells. It did not matter who had the ball in hand, ORs always managed to break the gain line, forcing their up the pitch.
In one period of the game, a number of penalties were conceded by ORs which allowed T-wells to have some procession and territory, something that they had lacked for the majority of the game. Despite a good defensive shift, a cleared ball was gathered by one of the T-Wells girls who managed to evade us and score their one and only try of the game. ORs had been determined to keep a clean sheet and this try fired them up to score two further tries, a second for Misty and a second by Elsa.
The final score was 43-5 and ORs will go on to face Old Guildfordians in the next round.