First Blood For Lionesses!
The girls assembled for the first game of 2016 with six of the squad being able to make a Friday evening game organised by the SRU. Unfortunately due to a ‘misunderstanding’ by one of the teams the only opposition at U12 level was only Melrose, a team who had beaten the Lionesses late last year. As it was 7-a-side and Melrose had 7 players the SRU requested that we take in 2 lone U12 players from the Hillfoots Club and Murrayfield Wanderers, Freya and Courtenay. The friendliness of the Lionesses meant that our guest players were integrated fully within 30 seconds of talking to them.
The format consisted for 3x 10 minute games with a couple of breaks in between the games, but playing on a wider and longer pitch than we have so far (from the ‘22’ to the ‘5’ to make the width, and between the ‘5’ for lineout throws making the try lines).
From the off the Lionesses blitzed the Melrose girls and were 2 tries up within 60 seconds. Danielle played a key part in asserting the dominance of the girls in the contact area. For the first game ripping in contact was allowed which was something several of the Lionesses relished and excelled in. Melrose recovered from the shock and awe tactics of the Lionesses and clawed a score back with some determined and talented play. The Lionesses through a mixture of evasive running, determined leg drives and a genuine hunger for a victory upped the tempo and started scoring freely. At the end of the first 10 minute session the score stood at 7-2 to our girls.
The next match began with a strong showing from Melrose, but the Lionesses sensing a ‘series victory’ were not in the mood to be merciful or generous. The decision to stop ripping in contact was not popular amongst the girls, but Edinburgh Rugby felt it best to help develop the girls’ rucking skills. Despite a stronger performance by Melrose the fitness and determination of the Lionesses saw them run out winners 5-3.
Cue the final rubber. The light was fading, the spotlights were on, the pitch was narrowed by 50%. It made no difference to the girls and they ran out 6-3 winners against a Melrose team that fought to the last – huge credit to the Melrose girls for sticking at it when it may have seen easier to give up. It has to be noted that uncontested 3 girl scrums had been introduced in the first game; by the final game these scrums were being vigorously contested…..
In terms of individual performances, Danielle led the way in attack and defence while Ioanna was at her elusive best. Julia’s determination aligned with a swerve served her well. Special mention at this point has to be given to Sinead and Amy who grew and grew every minute of the tournament; as a coach it’s one of the moments that you treasure. Helena’s elusiveness carried straight on from where we saw it down at Melrose last year. Huge thanks to our guest players; Freya who showed the girls a thing or two about cover tackling and was the quickest in the team. Courtenay was a rock and drove her way in the heart of Melrose’s defence on more than one occasion and stymied their attacks as well.
A first win is always memorable and judging by the smiles it will last a long time in their memories. All credit goes to the girls for playing rugby brilliantly in the Lionesses’ way.