MADDIE RENDELL scored 13 tries to help Stratford Ladies to victory in the second North East Midlands Ladies Touch League tournament of the season on Sunday.
Held at Camp Hill RFC, the tournament featured all ten teams in the league so sides were split into two pools of five.
Stratford knew they had to top the pool to play in the 1st/2nd place play-off and first up for Stratford were Old Coventrians.
Despite some solid defence to begin with, Stratford were able to run in five tries – three from Rendell, one from captain Jane McGovern and a brilliant exploitation of a gap and run-in from Bec Charles for her first competitive try.
Newbold Falcons were next up and Jane McGovern and Rendell (4) added to their try tallies. Some holes were found in the Stratford defence and the final score was 5-2.
Stratford’s main competition in the pool was up next in the shape of Redditch. Both teams have played each other enough to know how they play and which players to watch.
The first few minutes were very cautious from both sides but Stratford opened the scoring from a lovely team move that put Rendell over. Redditch replied but Jane McGovern was able to respond again and Stratford won 2-1.
The final pool game was against Old Laurentians and Rendell crossed the whitewash a further three times to give Stratford a clean sweep of pool victories, guaranteeing second place at worst.
However, the final pool match did bring about the loss of Caz Farris to an ankle injury, reducing the Stratford squad to eight.
Hosts Camp Hill had topped the other pool, so were Stratford’s opposition in the final.
Camp Hill are a tough team to play against as they exploit the offside and push the gain line with great aggression and determination. This meant Stratford’s defence and discipline was greatly tested.
Stratford went ahead through Rendell before Camp Hill levelled. Rendell went over again and in the last seconds of the game it looked like Camp Hill had scored in the corner to force the draw and the ‘drop-off’.
However, Rendell had just got her fingertips to the player before she grounded the ball and the referee called a touch on the final whistle, giving Stratford a 2-1 win and tournament victory.
The Stratford team effort and attitude was amazing and to achieve a tournament win with some players only playing for the second time was a fantastic achievement.
Player of the tournament was Rendell for her 13 tries and defensive work.
Training takes place on Tuesdays at 6.30pm at Stratford RFC. The next tournament is at Newbold Falcons on June 4.