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Keresley RFC Ladies new season

Last Updated: Sep 19, 2013 09:27am
Corley, North Warwickshire
By Ian Coulson
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With the dawning of a new season finally upon us, there was a lot of change for the Keresley Ladies over the summer. With the departure of a number of girls due to other commitments, it was a new look K’s that took the field at burrow hill lane.

With 7 players retained from last season, there were 6 six new faces to make up the team, four returning after long layoffs, and two that had never played rugby before. So it could have been forgiven that it might have taken time for the team to gel, but that wasn’t the case. The first 20 minutes was all Keresley, but they couldn’t turn the early pressure into points, so it was to Stafford’s credit that in their first attack they gained a penalty and their number 8 took a quick tap and found the gap to score the try. The conversion was slotted over to make it Keresley 0, Stafford 7. But undeterred by that, it was Keresley who struck back, with Aly Sweeney dominating in the lineout and K’s number 9, Yasmin Barnes, who was a constant thorn in Stafford’s side all game, linking forwards and backs, the ball was fed out to speedy winger Kelly Clough, who raced over to score. Conversion missed, Keresley 5, Stafford 7. With that Keresley’s tales were up and now with the scrum going K’s way, the next score came from powerful second rower Anna Grace. With the forwards making good ground, especially number 7 Lisa Platts, the ball came to grace who broke 2 tackles and ran in for her first try. Conversion missed, Keresley 10, Stafford 7. Credit again has to go to Stafford, who probably had their best spell of the half, but there was no way through for the Staffordshire side. It was K’s outstanding centres, Mikaela Loftus and Laura Millerchip, making the big tackles lead to the ball being spilled and it was popped up to K’s Anna Grace who showed a clean pair of heels and the Stafford defence closing her down, but had plenty of gas to touch down for her second try. Conversion missed, Keresley up 15 – 7. But the last score of the half went to Stafford, with K’s on the attack, the ball went lose and a Stafford player hacked the ball into the Keresley half, and with a kind bounce popped up into the hands of Stafford’s number 13 who ran it in under the post. With the conversion successful, half time score Keresley 15, Stafford 14. With the start of the second half, there was a lot of to and fro.

With weather conditions deteriorating, play had to be halted for an injury, to K’s number 8. Play was moved to another pitch while the player received treatment. It took K’s time to settle, and it was Stafford who scored a break away try to put them in the lead. Keresley 15, Stafford 19. But with that, Keresley’s never say die attitude kicked in, and it was mother and daughter combination Viv and Charlotte Sawyer, running at the heart of the Stafford defence, the ball broke to Leanne Mason, the back rower who was playing out of position and covering full back and wing, showed her pace, fed the ball to Emma “EJ” Jenkins, who scored in the corner. Conversion missed, Keresley retook the lead 20 – 19.

The next score came from a big hit made by hooker, Stacey Rowley. The ball was spilled, shipped out to prop Julie Checkley, who handed off two would be tacklers, and sprinted in to score her try. Conversion missed, Keresley 25, Stafford 19. After the restart, K’s lost another player to injury, Mikaela “Macca” Loftus, who had been carrying a knock and giving her all, left the field. The final score, made by Mason, fielding a long kick, ran it back and it was Jenkins again who showed her skill and scored her second try. Conversion missed, Keresley 30, Stafford 19. With the clock ticking down, and Stafford going until the end, it was K’s Miss Clough, who put in a massive tackle on a girl twice her size, denied what looked a certain try.

Coach Martin Checkley said at the end, I was a little apprehensive before kick-off, but as soon as the girls settled and started to gel, any fears were laid to rest. We need to give our opposition great credit for making it difficult for us. But credit must go to our ladies, who came back from being behind twice in the game and maybe in previous season’s, our heads would have dropped and we would have caved in. Our defence was outstanding all afternoon and we scored some good tries. We will enjoy this win but we must keep our feet on the ground and keep up the hard work in training.

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