Tries for Perry and Stefanotti not enough for Bude's Women at Totnes

Wednesday 21st February 2018 11:42 am

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Sunday, February 18

Women’s Friendly

Totnes Women 22

Bude Women 12

BUDE once again proved their mettle against tough Devon rivals but were edged out 22-12 at their Totnes counterparts.

Despite being just the visitors’ sixth ever game, the ladies travelled with just 15 players, although confident in the game plan head coach Les Cushing has been drilling into them since their defeat at Withycombe a fortnight earlier.

Pulling on the shirts with pride, Bude started in a great position and played in Totnes’ 22 for the first quarter. Yet again, the masterpiece was the Bude scrum, providing guaranteed blue and burgundy ball no matter who put it in. Lisa Honey at scrum-half did very well to get the ball away quickly to the backs, who retained possession but struggled to break through the Totnes defence.

At the 20 minute mark Bude lost their tighthead Hannah Pickard, who was playing with an awful cold and simply couldn’t breathe any longer after some fantastic carries early on. In the true spirit of rugby, Totnes lent Bude a forward which meant second-row Claire Onions had to move up to prop, and Tia Gray, normally a winger but starting at six this week, took Onions’ position. Despite the relative inexperience of players in their new positions, Bude hooker Maxine Holder was still able to reliably provide ball for the backs.

Totnes exploited a weakness on the left-wing through solid play, particularly their fly-half fixing the defence or dummying to break through herself. Bude’s speed off the line in defence was not enough to prevent three unconverted tries on the outside as they went into the break 15-0 down.

Bude were unwilling to give in and the impartial refereeing was allowing a free-flowing and even game, despite the score.

From the restart gaps started to appear in Totnes’ defence and Bude were desperate to capitalise. A strong scrum won against the head secured ball for full-back Frankie Perry, who stepped three tackles and turned on the gas to run the ball in under the posts.

Heartened, the visitors played furiously in open play to turn over possession, particularly flying tackles by Holly Stephenson and counter-rucking from Rachel Shackleton.

It was a very physical game from both sides, which threatened to boil over at any minute, but discipline kept play on the right side of the law. Bude will be looking to emulate some of the physicality and hand-offs in future games, but the aggression was just what they needed to turn the ball over and free Emma Stefanotti, who cut an arching line from blindside touch to exploit a gap in midfield and run in a beautiful try from over 50 metres out. Converted by Honey, Bude had brought it back to 15-12.

Totnes requested to drop to 14-aside, and successfully used their replacements to bring fresh legs on throughout the second-half. The muddy pitch tired Bude’s fighting 14 as they repulsed waves of attack by Totnes, who could not go through the middle and finally sent it wide to exploit a gap on the right, which was converted to make it 22-12. With 10 minutes to go Bude were still in it to win it, and played for territory from penalty kicks through Honey. Dominating lineouts through jumpers Nicole Rowland and Alex Gallagher, Bude had the ball but couldn’t penetrate the defence and time ran out.

The North Cornwall Club are actively recruiting new players of all shapes, sizes and abilities. Search ‘Bude Women’s Rugby’ on Facebook for more information.

Bude —

Perry, Dolal, Stefanotti, Maynard, James, Stephenson, Honey; Furse, Holder, Pickard, Onions, Shackleton, Rowland, Gallagher

Tries: Perry, Stefanotti

Convs: Honey

Pens: N/A

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