THE girls in Black and Amber continued to produce great rugby, impressive play and outstanding rugby and community spirit as the season rolls into the autumn.
As the leaves turn, the evenings chill and the days darken, the skills, teamwork and commitment from Kirton’s young female contingent shines bright to warm the hearts of the parents that congregate to cheer them on and the coaches who’ve invested their time, knowledge and experience to mould the enthusiasm shown every week in training into coherent, and so far successful, game play on a Sunday afternoon.
A LITTLE bit of history was made at the Blagdon home of Crediton RFC last weekend as a single fixture event was held at a new Age Grade level, with the visit of near neighbours Okehampton.
The countywide success for the new U12s can be shown in this very fixture as Crediton, with a now long standing tradition and presence in girls rugby played a club that have taken advantage of the new system to kick start a girls rugby story of their own.
The plan for this Age Grade was to adopt, if the numbers were there, single fixture or cluster game after the Christmas break.
Such is the great work that has been done at the club that the opportunity to go one-v-one, so to speak, was grasped before the masks and costumes from Hallowe’en are being worn.
The day followed the format of previous multi-club gatherings with a training session for all girls together before pitching them against each other.
The results of these games matter not compared to the long-term effects of creating a love of the sport in a new generation and girls that become players for many years to come.
Team Manager, Anna Yeandle underlined the importance of how the season is going. She said: “To play host to a club that is just starting their own girls rugby journey was a fantastic opportunity.
“Well done to all at Okehampton for their work so far and we wish them all the best in the future.”
The Crediton girls under 14s took a trip to Sidmouth on Sunday, October 16 to play a cluster fixture against Sidmouth and Ivybridge, Crediton and Sidmouth both had 13 players and Ivybridge had 10. Coaches from all sides worked together and took the decision to split the Ivybridge girls up so we could play a full game of 15-a-side with some subs.
All five of the Ivybridge girls, lent to Crediton, featured in the starting line-up and the mix and match teams made a start. The game was feisty and well contested with the Kirton girls rucking and counter rucking very well, which enabled the Black and Ambers to have a strong platform from which to enact their game, with which they dominated open play.
At half-time the Ivybridge girls swapped over and after a bit of jiggling around with positions, started again. Crediton continued to provide most of the pressure and go forward play.
For the last quarter of the game Ivybridge fielded all their girls and Sidmouth lent some players to both teams to field a 15-a-side quarter.
This was a much tougher challenge for the Crediton girls, especially as the rain had started to pour down making handling much more challenging.
All-in-all a successful day for Crediton, with a healthy win but it was the work done by the coaches to ensure as many girls as possible got to play in a full side game where rugby values shone brightly and even the late downpour didn’t dampen the girls afternoon.
U16s - Ivybridge (A)
The U16s fourth match of the season saw them pitched against Ivybridge who hosted on their 4G pitch.
The black and amber squad arrived wary of Ivybridge who have a reputation as fearsome and skilled competitors. Crediton pushed hard from the first whistle with strong line breaks, solid ruck support, and quick accurate hands.
Ivybridge offered up a tough defence with quality low tackles, quick ruck speed and strong foraging.
However, the Crediton attack was energetic and relentless and saw success very early on.
The 4G pitch added a level of speed to the game that isn’t always there and gave the Kirton girls another factor to solve in their overall game.
Crediton’s line out was working perfectly with a 100 per cent success rate, a couple of steals, and good disruption, but the scrum was struggling against the might of Ivybridge’s newly formed pack.
So with Ivybridge winning back so much ball, the black and amber backs had to use their accurate kicking game to keep the opposition out of their “22”. The game stayed close with most of the action in the middle of the pitch, however Kirton crossed over three more times in the first half. In the second half the fatigue showed, partly due to the frenetic pace of the pitch and the quick responses of both sides.
Tiredness leads to opportunity, Ivybridge were able to break Crediton’s defence and scored two converted tries in quick succession. To the credit of the black and amber girls they kept their heads and worked out how to fix their game.
Firstly, they rearranged the scrum and soon found that they could now win their own ball and put much more pressure on Ivybridge’s previously outstanding set piece unit, providing more quick balls for the hungry backs. Secondly, they stuck to the basics, worked the ball through the hands and got the whole team ticking along.
The last 15 minutes saw Crediton breaching Ivybridge’s tough and committed defence twice more, the final try a thread needle run by number nine who eased her way past four defenders, finding gaps where no-one else can.
With a final score of 14-34 Crediton were delighted that, not only their hard work, but the way that they adjusted themselves in-game paid dividends against an opponent that made them work for every point scored. Coach Joe Wreford said: “Rugby is 100 per cent about teamwork, and today we saw the product of a team working together.
“With four or five girls playing out of position, the team went beyond their skills and physicality and won the mind game to support each other and make a great win.
“Today was another great demonstration of rugby values and we all feel super proud of our girls.”
Unfortunately, the U18s found themselves without a fixture this week as two potential games had to be withdrawn.
As has been previously mentioned, the U18 Age Grade throughout the county, is suffering from lack of numbers and fixtures are being juggled furiously to get the girls some game time.
Alas, this week it was not to be.
However, hopes are high for Crediton’s next home match in the Devon Cup, hoping to build on their first success. The visitor’s will be Devonport/Ivybridge who will provide stiff opposition.