There were eight freshers on the team list with five starting; many were playing only their second match ever. After letting Loughborough intimidate them last week, Newcastle were ready to show Leeds Beckett their new-look side’s determination and team work. It was a strong start to the match with an early try from Charlie Woodman on the wing, though Beckett came back strong with two tries in the first half.
Newcastle’s girls then played hard for 15 minutes in Leeds’ half but couldn’t find a way to break through, almost losing the ball, but after some more hard work the girls managed to turn the ball over and score to equalise. A really competitive first half, with both teams putting in strong performances, drew to a close with the scores level.
Newcastle’s play was characterised by some strong performances from the forwards in their set pieces with scrums improving immensely from the game against Loughborough the previous week. The girls kept strong with Charlotte Lentz and Beth Robinson setting a high standard while Tash Robson’s helped their strong scrumming. Robson also had some amazing carries, smashing through defensive line, leading to an impressive try by Elle Bloor, and a cool conversion by Robson.
Outside of the set pieces all the forwards had a strong game with big hits and good carries. Robinson’s hard hits and impressive runs led to a try by Robson in the second half while the whole team was putting effort on improving communication and work rate, meaning drift defence off scrums and line outs improved a lot.
The backs’ handling and set moves had also improved since the Loughborough match, along with their confidence. With some big hits from Jess Hepburn and quick thinking on penalties by Philippa Serebriakoff, Newcastle earned a second try for winger Woodman.
It was an amazing debut for rugby fresher Imogen Leigh, earning her forward of the match award while Hepburn’s strong passing and tackles earned her back of the match.
Despite the gargantuan effort, with 5 minutes to go Newcastle trailed 26-22. Both teams were working hard but with tiredness setting in, a few mistakes appeared from Newcastle. Beckett broke their line scoring a try in the last few minutes.
It was an amazing debut for rugby fresher Imogen Leigh, earning her forward of the match award while Hepburn’s strong passing and tackles earned her back of the match. The star of the show Robson’s strong carries, try and break throughs earned her player of the match for the second week running.
A word from the captain: “The best game I have been involved in, but with the most frustrating result. The girls gave it their all for the full 80 minutes. We were all gutted but we are looking forward to stealing back the win in two weeks time.”
Next week’s game is away to Durham, and we’re hoping for a big result.