Dorking 11 – Guildford 5

On Sunday 7th April the U13 Girls played their Waterfall Cup Tankard Final against Guildford. We have played against them several times already, comfortably winning early in the season – but in later games they were more competitive and we were held to a draw in one game as they had clearly improved through the season.

The game was held at Old Rutlishians RFC along with a number of other Waterfall Cup Final matches on a pitch that was pretty hard after the recent dry weather. Guildford had only managed to muster the minimum number of players due to the start of the school holidays and so the match was played as seven aside – meaning we had three subs who we could roll on and off as the game progressed. From the kick off the early exchanges were pretty tight with neither team getting the upper hand – some good attack play from Guildford who were confident in moving the ball through their hands was repelled by some very aggressive Dorking tackling. When Dorking regained possession Guildford were doing a good job of covering the field to close space down. However Dorking were able to keep the ball moving away from the tackle area and avoided turning over possession, which we have been guilty of in games earlier in the season. Eventually the ball was moved to Amy Henwood, who with with some extremely powerful running broke through a Guildford defence that simply couldn’t stop her and we got a score on the board first. As a team we generally start slowly and even in games that we have won earlier in the season we have often let other teams score first – so the early score was a good sign. The game continued in a similar fashion – with both teams attacking and defending well and getting a try each. The hard ground started to have an impact on Guildford with a number of stoppages for their players to receive treatment for injuries suffered being tackled onto the hard ground – we temporarily had to drop down to six aside to let one player recover. The stoppages led to a slightly disrupted game but two more tries were scored by each team before half time came – meaning we were just ahead at the break with the score at 4-3 to Dorking.

The message at half time was simple – keep doing the same but with more intensity and react more quickly when you have the chance to. From the re start it was clear that the message had landed. Guildford kicked and watched without reacting as the ball didn’t initially travel the full seven metres. Ruby Dingle took the ball and headed straight for space down the left wing using her considerable pace to easily out run the opposition to score, giving us a great start to the second half. Further strong defence, including some great tackling from Immy Sellings who was playing her first ever competitive match meant we turned over plenty of ball and got some good possession leading to a flurry of tries from Dorking. Scores came from Amy Henwood, Clara Stephens, Olivia Buchanan and a superb try by Daisy Dixon who took a pass whilst coming on a great line at pace from 25 metres out and simply couldn’t be stopped. These put the result beyond Guildford who were beginning to struggle with the conditions and with their lack of substitutes, although they remained committed getting a further couple of tries in the second half. The final play of the match saw a great try from Clara Stehpens, who made a break on her own and was being chased down by Guildford largest and fastest player player, Clara stepped inside and then back outside to lose the cover tackler and went on to score. The final score 11-5 to Dorking.

After some narrow losses in some of the pool matches it was nice to finish on a high with a convincing win – the tackling from everyone in the team was the best of the season and the confidence to pass the ball rather than always taking contact paid dividends for us.

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