STRATFORD Ladies made big strides when they hosted the second Midlands Ladies Touch League Super Saturday.
Stratford had found themselves in the Bowl final at the previous stand-alone tournament and were looking to improve on that position, whilst still giving all members of the squad the opportunity to play.
This tournament saw the return to the squad of senior players Sarah Wheeldon (over from France) and Caz Farris (back from injury).
Stratford again found themselves in the same pool as Ross and Pinley, drawing 0-0 against the former as some inspired defensive play was witnessed.
A 4-2 victory against Pinley then followed in which Maddie Rendell scored a hat-trick and Jess Fox also crossed the whitewash.
These results ensured Stratford had already improved on their position from last time out as second place in the pool meant a quarter-final against eventual Cup winners Camp Hill for the right to play for the Cup or Plate.
Camp Hill are a strong side, only one point behind leaders Stratford and Redditch in the Midlands North East League standings.
Stratford held Camp Hill to a 2-2 draw in normal time, with a try each for Sophie Henry and Rendell. As a result was needed, an extra-time drop-off was played, and the Shirley side prevailed to leave Stratford in the Plate semi-final.
The opposition were Newbold, who Stratford had lost to in the Bowl final at the last Super Saturday. Stratford only needed the one score from captain Jane McGovern, who weaved through the defensive gaps with her first touch of the ball, to secure a 1-0 victory and progress to a second final, but in the higher competition.
The Plate final brought Stratford and Ross back together again. Despite going 2-0 down, Stratford fought back with another try each for Jane McGovern and Henry to force their second extra time drop-off of the day.
Once again, the teams got down to three players on the pitch and the fatigue showed. Despite great defence from Henry and Rachel McGovern and a diving touch from Rendell on the try-line, Ross crossed the whitewash with their next play to win the Plate.
Stratford Ladies finished five places higher than the first Super outing and did not lose a match in full time all day.
They dealt with the change of format much better this time, getting used to how the rolling subs worked best for the squad. It was great to see the development and improvement in the three newcomers – Bec Charles, Val Squires and Sam Gilliver.
The team now look forward the next league tournament at Wellesbourne in September.
Stratford’s player of the tournament was captain Jane McGovern, who said: “I want to say a big thank you to those who came down and supported the team. The day wouldn’t have run so smoothly without the help from the volunteers at the barbecue and the registration tent.
“Thank you to our wonderful coach Rich Pepperell for his patience and dedication throughout the season.”
The rugby club also hosted the Valtra pink tractor. This has been at events up and down the country, collecting money for breast cancer research.
Teams and supporters gave very generously and raised an amazing £210. The referees donated all their fees for the tournament and sported fantastic pink hats throughout. For more information visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/valtrapinktractor.