Buckingham Ladies 7 – Bletchley Ladies 12
Bletchley take honours in League and East Midlands Alliance double header.
Sunday, 6th January 2019: Buckingham Swans 7 – Bletchley Ladies 12
The new year kicked off with a short trip over to our local rivals, Buckingham, for a double header to see if Bletchley would stay top of the league plus take a place in the semi-final of the Alliance Cup. The ladies knew it would be a tough one, as every match with Buckingham is hard fought and close.
Buckingham opened play and soon moved into Bletchley’s territory with a knock on from their visitors. They picked from the back of the scrum and passed the ball, then were tackled out, giving Bletchley the opening line out, in Buckingham’s 22. They secured this, worked through a couple of phases then kicked deep into Buckingham’s territory. Buckingham took the catch and set up a ruck on the 22. A few phases on and they kicked; Clare Stacey took the catch and ran it back at them. Buckingham fought hard, forced a knock on from Bletchley, secured their scrum and worked play back to the middle of the pitch. Both teams played with passion and determination, and we were over half an hour into the game before there was any score.
Bletchley took a scrum in the middle of their half after piling on the pressure, panicking Buckingham into a forward pass and knock on. They secured the ball and pulled back some ground before Buckingham ripped the ball back from a ruck. Buckingham worked through the phases, then set up a maul which Bletchley held, just in their 22. They passed the ball out along the line, then took a quick tap after a Buckingham penalty to further progress their game. They were still in their half when the Swans managed to tackle them out and take the line out. Beth Metcalf secured the ball for Bletchley. Bletchley pushed up and set up their own maul. Bletchley drove into Buckingham’s half, then Buckingham piled in and held the progress, to reverse the honours at the scrum. The Swans worked the ball up the pitch, patiently working through phases up to Bletchley’s line, taking the first points of the match, 7 – 0, 32 minutes into the game. The remainder of the first half saw no further score.
Bletchley’s opening kick didn’t go the distance, giving Buckingham a scrum in the middle of the pitch. They passed out along the line, then set up a ruck, which Bletchley turned over. Bletchley then passed across the pitch and set up a maul, driving further forward. Bletchley continued their progress, helped by a penalty from their hosts. A quick tap, then a pop out to Becky Driscoll, drove the game up to the Swan’s 22. Bletchley continued to exert pressure, but Buckingham pushed back and forced a knock on, giving them a scrum in the middle of their 22. They secured this, then knocked on themselves, giving their visitors another chance; Buckingham weren’t giving in though, and turned the scrum, kicking the ball away from danger. Jodie Dimmock took the catch and set up a ruck. Bletchley passed back to Rachael Taylor who kicked it back. Buckingham took it and drove play back to the halfway point then set up a maul. Again, they didn’t use it, so Bletchley had a scrum, just in their half. A strong drive from Driscoll took play back into Buckingham’s territory; a ruck and a pass found Betty Susova, who drove it further forward. A penalty from Buckingham helped progress; Bletchley kicked to touch, secured their line out, then patiently worked the phases. The ball moved along the line, found Susova again who ran in the equaliser between the posts. Caroline Collie’s boot did the rest; 7 – 7 and ten minutes played.
The second half now settled into the same vein as most of the first half; the teams both gave everything and succeeded in holding each other out whenever play moved towards a try line. Finally, in the last play of the game, they were saved from extra time (to decide the Cup result). Previously, Buckingham had given a penalty which Bletchley opted to kick for points; the ball didn’t make its mark, giving Buckingham a 22 drop out kick. Stacey took the ball on the run and drove forward. Buckingham ripped the ball from a ruck, then Bletchley ripped it back a couple of phases on, only to have the Swans rip it straight back at the next, driving the game back into Bletchley’s half. Another penalty from the Swans was kicked to touch, giving Bletchley a line out on the halfway line; they secured this, then gave a penalty of their own, which Buckingham took as a quick tap and set up a maul. They drove forward to Bletchley’s 5m line, but Bletchley finally halted its progress and took the scrum. The ball passed back to Taylor, who kicked it away. Buckingham were waiting for it and ran it back, but were forced to run across the pitch, looking for an opening in Bletchley’s defence. Eventually Bletchley managed to rip the ball from a Swan’s ruck, then were further assisted by a penalty, enabling them to kick for space and take a line out, just in their half. Buckingham turned the line out and set up another maul, passed the ball out, worked through the phases, then set up a further maul. As they passed out from this, they knocked on, giving Bletchley the honours at the scrum. Play was still in Bletchley’s half. Bletchley secured the scrum, passed back then kicked up the pitch. Buckingham took the catch, popped the ball out, which went loose. Susova gathered it up, made a break from the halfway line and took Bletchley’s final points in the comer.
After a tough match, Bletchley walked away with the league points, opening they gap slightly at the top of the table, and the semi-final place for the Alliance cup. Bletchley are the defending champions for this, and meet their old local rivals, Olney, in the next round (date to be arranged).
Next Sunday, Bletchley Ladies host Old Leamingtonian Ladies at Manor Fields. We have taken in a lot of new blood this season, but are always looking for more, so if you fancy finding out what makes Bletchley Ladies so successful, come along and try us out. We are a friendly, welcoming squad who train at Manor Fields on a Wednesday nights, 7.00 – 8.30pm. We play hard, both on and off the pitch!