Bath 5 v 77 T-Birds
FOLLOWING a really tough 12/13 season which resulted in relegation from the Premiership, the T-Birds travelled to Bath for a 13/14 season Championship opener that resulted in a 14 try thriller and illustrated the gulf in class between Level 1 and Level 2 in Women’s Rugby.
The T-Birds faced the kick off with some trepidation, having not won a game all last season, no-one really knew how tough this new season would prove to be.
Bath looked well organised and fit but it didn’t take very long for the T-Birds to take control and display their harder nosed edge.
Three early touches for the back line showed the potential for danger and then after only 5 minutes Kat Emerson stole a ball in a ruck, broke 3 tackles and touched down under the posts. With the extras from Scott, the T-Birds led a League game for the first time since the 10-11 season. 0-7.
The confidence this gave was visible in attitude and demeanour, and almost straight from the restart, the T-Birds put pace on the ball, going wide through the hands, the final interplay between Bex Francis and India Harvey was a joy to watch as Harvey bagged her first. 0-12
Sensing the possibility of a real drubbing, Bath lifted their game and kicked well turning T’s defence. A little overexcitement from Ts resulted in a few dropped balls and missed passes which contributed to Bath scoring a fine try of their own to bring things back to 5-12 after the first quarter.
Calming down and playing themselves back into the game for 10 minutes the T-Birds slowly took control and then cut loose with a series of backs moves which resulted in a try for winger Bex Francis and a second for the dancing feet of Harvey to leave Ts in command at half time, 5-22.
After the break, the T-Birds cut loose, their superior power and physicality creating opportunities all aver the field. Nichols put a score on the board for the Forwards and Francis claimed her second. Bath desperately tried to slow the ball down at the breakdown but only ended up with a player in the bin.
Lydia Beard scored her first for the T-Birds and the second for the forwards to bring the score to 5-39 at the end of the 3rd quarter and then T’s stellar back line of England players Scott and Burford linked with Harvey and Francis to cut a tiring Bath to shreds.
Harvey and Francis claimed their hat tricks and then Scott claimed hers with 3 in the last 15 minutes. Unselfish Rachael Burford who had provided great ball for everyone outside her all game, fittingly claimed the last deep into overtime to finish off at 5-77.
So 13 trys, a win, a bonus point and a points difference of +72 means that the T-birds are back where they belong, Top of the League.
Francesca Jordan (Twin Frank) was forward of the match and Bex Francis back of the match.
Ts continue next Sunday away to Richmond’s Second Team before the first Home fixture at Oakfield against Hove on September 22nd.
As always, Thurrock Ladies, the T-Birds welcome new players of any standard to their 2 teams.
We can promise you great training and great social life. Just turn up on a Wednesday evening at 7.30.