On Sunday after an absence of 4 years ladies rugby once again returned to the Common at St Neots, this time a newly reformed St Neots Ladies team wanted to make their mark and they more than did that versus the fellow newly formed Royston ladies.
The St Neots side only started training in October last year under the leadership of player coach and team Captain Beth Robinson following her return from Nottingham Trent University. Since then a very successful recruitment drive has seen the team grow rapidly in numbers and a structured training plan lead to the ladies feeling ready to prove what the squad has to offer resulting in this friendly fixture.
Royston arrived at St Neots with a seasoned squad having already taken to the field in home and away fixtures in the last half of 2016 however the youthful Saints ladies were not to be intimidated by this. From the kick off the eager St Neots team showed that they had the team work and ability to match even the most seasoned of team’s. Taking control of their game St Neots were quick to open their account and within two minutes centre Vicky Wilkinson went over the line for the opening try of the match. Captain Beth Robinson keen to lead by example quickly followed up scoring shortly afterwards and with a successful conversion Saints leading 12-0 within the first four minutes. A stunned Royston sought to stem the tide utilising their sizeable forward pack to dominate the breakdown however the Saint’s forwards responded leading to turn over’s in their advantage. The Saint’s forwards then linked in with their back line counterparts, attacking phases with close support lead to the St Neots back line punching through the gaps made in the Royston defence, winger Emily Miller capitalised on this scoring Saints third with Robinson’s conversion for yet further points. With the Saints forwards superior fitness showing its potential this created the perfect platform for the St Neotsback line to now run dominant lines deep into Royston’s defence leaving Royston valiantly fighting to keep their opposition off their try line. However before half time two further try’s from centres Harriet Emery and Wilkinson, along with a further conversion from Robinson saw Saints going into the break comfortably in the lead at 41-0.
The second half saw changes from St Neots allowing their squad to experiment with player positions and combinations. In an illustration of the Saints abilities Vicky Wilkinson moved from centre to flanking on the blindside, this didn’t curtail Wilkinson’s try scoring run and within the first minutes of the second half she added to the Saints growing tally. Royston’s forwards attempted to wrestle back control of the game in the scrum however the Saints pack showed that were no means a push over easily standing up to this test. Harriet Emery then added her second try of the day followed up by another from winger Miller. The Saint’s game plan and structure was now in full swing, as well as Royston being held back from making any inroads back into the game by a solid defensive performance from the St Neots ladies, tackle after tackle the Saints commitment was relentless. The Saints forwards continued to provide an ever stable attacking platform for their rapid backline to exploit, especially from the Saints lineout which became a solid set piece for the team. Front row Kirsty Wilson epitomised the work of the Saints pack by going over the line followed up by a conversion by Robinson. Full back Hannah Gill added further to the St Neots total before back row Wilkinson finished the Saints account as she started it with a final try to make it four for her. Captain Robinson added her sixth conversion to make the score 67-0. Royston however rallied, their commitment and determination throughout the game paying off with a final try from them to make the final score 67-5.
Saints ladies captain said “We only started in October, in that short time we’ve grown to a team of 22 players, dedicated and passionate about the game. I’ve never seen a bunch of ladies so new to rugby play so well in their first match, I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for this team but it has been a pleasure to be the coach and play alongside this amazing bunch”
St Neots Ladies are always keen to welcome new members to the team which features players of all abilities and a range of ages. Training takes place at the club on Tuesday nights from 7pm at the club, for further info contact Beth at firstname.lastname@example.org