Sleaford RFC Ladies’ XV capped a pleasing debut campaign in the league with a post-season friendly against Amber Valley.
The ladies finished a respectable fourth in the table and manager Vicki Cocks, and coaches Sam Olliver, Pete Olliver, Derek Lynch and Paul Beard were proud of the team’s effort all season while looking forward to another successful campaign.
Sleaford pressed well early on in the visitors’ half before Karcirkova broke the line and looked set for the first score, but was denied by a great recovering tackle.
Valley were fired up and scored with almost their first possession when a great kick downfield was recovered well to touch down.
Sleaford’s response was immediate, with Parkes’ excellent run down the wing stopped just short.
The chance seemed over when they conceded a penalty, but Valley’s kick didn’t find touch and excellent inter-play from Jones and Christian drew in the defence before shipping the ball wide for prop Taylor to charge through for an excellent try (5-5).
The game finally settled and Valley retook the lead when a 22 drop-out went straight to their star player whose arcing run took her under the posts for a converted score.
Sleaford missed two big chances when Taylor’s run was stopped by a last-ditch tackle before another fine challenge forced Smith to knock on over the line.
But Valley failed to clear and Jones offloaded well for McConchie to cross (10-12).
Sleaford went ahead for the first time going into half-time when Christian forced a turnover deep in Sleaford’s half.
Powerful drives from Balderstone and Ambler were finally fed wide to Smith who converted in style (15-12).
After a sloppy start to the second half, Dale’s good midfield play teed up skipper Dennis who handed off two defenders to score under the posts (20-12).
Sleaford regained possession quickly and Cocks broke the line with a wicked dummy and fell just short, but the ball was turned over and ran back the length-of-the-pitch to cut the deficit to 20-17.
A great move through the centres eventually saw the Valley 10 break through for her fourth try, converted for a 24-20 lead.
A moment of brilliance from the restart saw Parkes recover possession and charge through a pack of defenders, only to be held up just short.
The ball was cleared, but Parkes charged back to collect the pass from Dennis and break through more defenders to restore Sleaford’s lead at 25-24.
Taylor was stopped illegally, one metre short, and three quick penalties later, Ambler crossed after great forward support from Cocks (30-24).
Karcirkova was tackled into touch only a few metres out and the Valley 10 ran from her own half again to score a converted try and give the visitors a slender 31-30 lead.
A signature Dennis turnover caught out the Valley defence and Karcikova ran wide to score in the corner (35-31).
But Valley won it with the last play as their 10 scored her sixth try after recovering the kick-off for a 38-35 win.
Sleaford end their season with another friendly at Sileby on April 22.
Sleaford: S. Taylor, S. McConchie, L. Dale, V. Cocks, K. Balderstone, J. Ambler, R. Jones, S. Christian, J. Parkes, H. Dennis (c), R. Wenninger, K. Karcirkova, M. Smith.
* Sleaford Ladies are looking for sponsors for next season. Contact Paul on 07432 435673 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for details
The club is also hosting a Ladies ‘Inner Warrior Camp’ on Sunday, April 29 for anyone interested to join, regardless of experience.