Canterbury Women re-building
Canterbury Women 24 – 0 Farnham Women
After a challenging season in Championship 2 last year with a plethora of injuries in the squad, Canterbury Women have had a successful re-build during pre-season and are ready to take on NC1 this year, with the hope of topping that league again! Their first league game of the season, at home, was against Farnham, a strong club with two women’s teams. However, it didn’t take long for Canterbury to get themselves on the scoreboard with a try and conversion by Anneka Willis after only 13 minutes, making it 7-0.
Canterbury looked dominant for most of the first half, winning numerous penalties, but struggled to capitalise on these. After 28 minutes, there was a ferocious hit put in by fly-half, Kate Rutherford, leading to another Canterbury penalty and Farnham yellow card. Although a player down, Farnham dug deep, putting pressure on Canterbury who defended their try line valiantly, unfortunately giving away a penalty in the process. Farnham went for the quick tap, which was beautifully read by fullback, Anneka Willis, who took the intercept. Willis brought Canterbury back up to the halfway mark, with outside centre, Sienna Farrance, close by in support. Canterbury lost the ball in the tackle, resulting in a Farnham scrum, and a yellow card for Canterbury fly half, Rutherford, with four minutes left of the half. Last minute errors from Canterbury saw them going into half time just 7-0 up.
Going into the second half, with the Farnham yellow card back on, and Canterbury fly-half still in the bin, the kick off was taken by flanker, Lucy Relf, who had an absolute stormer of a game, putting in massive hits and stealing lineouts and turnovers in open play. Canterbury maintained pressure, and kept the communications up to make sure they dealt with the overlap until Rutherford returned to the field, six minutes into the second half. Once Rutherford was back on, she resumed tormenting the opposition with her kicks in behind their defence, and lovely grubbers through to create options for the wingers. Canterbury continued to pin Farnham in their 22, until they won a penalty, and a quick tap from Rutherford earns Canterbury another 5 points, bringing them to 12-0. The conversion was narrowly missed by Willis.
More exciting play from Canterbury saw them attacking back in Farnham’s 22, very quickly after the restart, with another line break from Willis, finding Farrance for the offload, who then sent it out to winger, Mel Harding, who plucks the ball from the air with one hand and making more yards for Canterbury but ending up in touch. Credit here to Canterbury’s forward pack who were dominant in the scrum throughout, with hooker, Inger Phillpot, stealing opposition ball on numerous occasions. A snipe from scrum-half, Freddie Caspary-Pearson, off the back of the scrum brought Canterbury to five metres out once again, then a lovely one-two between 9 and 10, put Freddie under the sticks to make it 17-0. Willis then added the extra 2.
Canterbury looked hungry for the bonus point try as Farnham restarted. More handling errors cost Canterbury a couple more tries; however, they still looked comfortable camped in the opposition half and eventually won a penalty just outside the 22. Rutherford kicked for the corner. The lineout was taken nicely once again by Relf, and Rutherford secured the bonus point with her second try of the game, making it 24-0. The tricky conversion from out wide was missed by Willis.
This was a great start to the season for the Women’s team, and they now look to their next game, away to Guildford, who brought great contest last season in Championship 2.
Forward of the match – Lucy Relf (7)
Back of the match – Kate Rutherford (10)