Rugby: T-Birds continue to dominate league

WITH THE Championship One South already won, the T-Birds closed the year at the stunning Alianz Park Stadium against Saracens Ladies Second string.

With illness and injury forcing a new look front row, Ts did not enjoy their usual scrum time dominance, but made up for it with the will and the skill to take advantage of the wonderful fast playing surface.

The writing was on the wall early on as England’s Emily Scott quickly mesmerised the Saracens midfield with a looping run that allowed South African international Zaza Nojoko to cut a line for the first score in barely 3 minutes.

Saracens competed defiantly, but were visibly second best in all areas apart from the scrummage.

On 15 minutes Scott once again found a hole in the midfield, skinned the Full Back and touched down almost under the posts, the kick from Nojoko pushing the lead out to 0-12.

Ts pushed to finish this early and only their own errors allowed Saracens any possession over the next 10 minutes.

Saracens missed touch from a penalty on their own line and Ts showed their class with a move involving almost every player for Claire Phelps to finish in the corner.

On the half hour mark, Scott was carried off with what proved to be a broken ankle, but Ts replaced her with the best Women Centre in the World in the shape of Rachael Burford and shortly after Nojoko put her South African partner Lalla Vazi away for the 4th try and 0-24.

Unfortunately a potential serious injury to a Saracen finished the half early and held the game up for over an hour.

With the time allowed for the floodlights ticking away, both sides desperately wanted to play the minimum required 60 minutes so that the result could stand.

Saracens came out for the second half determined to get something from the game but Ts quickly quashed all hope.

Collecting the kick off deep inside their own half the forwards carried hard up the pitch into Saracens territory, 2 wonderful long passes from Nojoko and Burford put the ball outside the Saracens defence for Francis to finish in the corner.

With the 5th try and bonus point secure and the game over as a contest at 0-29, both teams were more than happy when the referee blew up on the 60 minute mark to end the game and start the party. Happily none of the injuries proved to be serious.

Now 30 points clear with 2 games still to go, Ts are assured the League title of Championship One South for the second season running and the 3rd time in 4 years.

Now the T-Birds have to wait for the result of Championship One North to find out who their opponents will be in the first playoff on February 22nd where they will play for the right to face the bottom team in the Premiership, old rivals Aylesford.

Team: Corales, Francis (T), Harris , Nojoko (T, 2C) , Harvey, Scott (T), Cook, Hepper, Nichols, Mountjoy, Jordan. F, French, Baker, Vazi (T), Phelps (T). Rep: Convoy, Burford, Wheeler, Radford

Next home fixture at Oakfield is against Bristol on 11th January. KO expected to be 2.00pm. Keep an eye on the website for updates

As always, Thurrock Ladies, the T-Birds welcome new players of any standard to their 2 teams.

The 2nd XV is growing weekly and now has its own dedicated Coaching and Management team. Many are beginners, playing in their first Season, so don’t be put off if you are new to the game.

We can promise you great training and a great social life. Just turn up on a Wednesday evening at 7.30.

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