STRATFORD Ladies’ touch team continued to improve at the second North East Midlands League tournament of the year (third in total for 2019) at Redditch RFC on Sunday.
The ten-strong squad, including a third debutant of the season in Kat Lucas, were able to test themselves against five teams in a round-robin event and earned a creditable third place.
First up were Old Laurentians who Stratford had frustratingly drawn with them last time out and so were determined to better that performance.
Two great team tries – one each for Rhiannon Ridgway and Rachel Browne – and only one lapse in defence resulted in a 2-1 win for Stratford.
Next up were hosts and eventual tournament winners Redditch. Stratford narrowly lost 1-0 but the team performance was one of the best all season.
Some fine straight line running from Alice Mercer and fantastic cover defence from Julie Allison and Jessie Darling were huge positives.
Stratford then played Woodrush and kept them out for the whole match. A try apiece for Ridgway and Rachel McGovern secured Stratford’s second win of the day with a 2-0 success.
After a short break, Stratford faced Wellesbourne for the first time this season. Coach Richard Pepperell had asked for a bit more pace when playing the ball off the floor which the team delivered.
Quick hands from Caz Farris nearly put Ridgway in for her third try of the day a couple of times but it was not to be and one try for Wellesbourne sealed a 1-0 defeat.
Camp Hill were the last opposition and Stratford were determined to finish on a high. Captain Jane McGovern and vice-captain Bec Charles led the team in attack with some lovely runs and line breaks, resulting in two brilliant tries on the wing for the two Rachels – Browne and McGovern.
The solid defence continued and Camp Hill were unable to penetrate it as Stratford triumphed 2-0.
These results put Stratford in third place behind Wellesbourne in second and Redditch in first – both of whom only scored one try against the ladies in black and white – for whom player of the tournament was Lucas.
Coach Pepperell said: “Some of our play was at a really high level. They ran complex moves and played head-up rugby – attacking the right parts of the pitch and defensively giving the opposition nowhere to go.
“It is even better to see as some of those playing were in their very first few tournaments. To concede only three tries all day and never more than one in a match is a good statistic.”
There is a break in competition now until Camp Hill’s tournament on May 19. Stratford ladies will continue to train on Tuesdays at 7pm at Stratford RFC and they all wish Pepperell a speedy recovery from his shoulder operation this week.