Lincs Barbarians 44
Sleaford under-18 girls played their first match as part of the Lincs Barbarians against Melbourne in the first round of the RFU girls’ cup at Lincoln.
Lincs Barbarians is a new cluster side which is made up of girls from Sleaford, Lincoln and Boston and is aimed at generating greater interest in rugby for girls across Lincolnshire. Many of the girls were playing their first full match and, with several of the more experienced injured in last week’s festival, several were playing in new positions.
It was a more experienced Melbourne who got off to a better start, driving down the centre of the field with their large pack and scoring a quick try under the posts that they were able to convert.
The girls realised that they were in a game and quickly learnt the pace and commitment needed and gradually got themselves back into it. A strong run by Sophie Hill encouraged the girls to straighten their running lines and believe in themselves, and eventually strong running by Bethan Owen broke the Melbourne defence and led to her first score, converted by Kate Davis-Bavin.
A few minutes later, Kate scored an impressive try of her own following good forward driving play, and the Barbarians led for the first time.
The game was fairly evenly balanced for the remainder of the half. The Barbarian forwards were out-muscled in the scrum by the larger Melbourne pack but were still able to get some ball on their own put in. In the loose, there was some excellent rucking shown and more and more strong tackling from the Barbarian girls.
With scrum half Meaghan Singleton sidelined due to an injury, Barbarians had to reshuffle their back line, but on 30 minutes excellent support running by centre Hannah Sharpy following a good break from half way by Bethan saw her score a try and the half finished 17-7.
It was clear that the girls’ confidence was growing and straight from the restart Hannah had a break of her own from half way and scored her second try. Beth followed with her own second after a few minutes.
A few mistakes around the breakdown led to a number of Melbourne penalties but they were unable to break through some strong tackles from the Barbarian forward line who built the foundations for the backs.
At the mid-point of the second half, a recently recovered Meaghan made a strong run on the right wing but suffered a leg injury in the tackle that required lengthy medical treatment and the game was switched to the second pitch.
The long delay seemed to have led to the Barbarians switching off and Melbourne took advantage to score after a series of contested rucks on the Barbarians line.
However, the Lincs girls were not to be denied and they all dug in for the last 10 minutes which saw Bethan complete her hat trick (converted by Kate), Sophie score a scintillating try starting in her own 22, and hooker Alice Smith making a great break of her own from half way to complete the scoring.