On Sunday 20th February, the ladies team from Marlow RUFC left the confines of Riverwoods Drive to make the trip to Worthing, on the south coast.
Fresh from a weekend off from playing, Marlow were well prepared to continue their impressive form in 2011 which has seen the ladies win their last 2, and run a good Guildford side close before this run. Their recent form had seen them jump from 5th to 2nd, and maintain their position at the top of the league, amongst the stronger, more established teams.
Whilst Marlow arrived full of confidence, there was a nervous air to the warm up. The reverse fixture earlier in the season was cancelled, so Worthing were somewhat an unknown quantity, and some of Worthing’s recent results showed that they would be a tough team.
This was proved true during the first half, with Marlow camped in the Worthing 22 for the majority opening exchanges. Errors from Marlow combined with ferocious defence from the South Coasters allowed Worthing to stay in the game, until about 10 minutes before half time, when Outside Centre Kate Argent crashed through the Worthing line, to score under the posts. The resulting conversion was scored, making the score 7-0 as we approached half time.
The score against Worthing seemed to galvanise the hosts, and they set about piling the pressure on Marlow, with some clever work in the backs, and some fantastic individual skills. Marlow’s tired legs led to a couple of penalties, which took Worthing up into the Buckinghamshire side’s 22, before a penalty was given against the aggressors to Marlow’s line. This allowed the ball to be kicked out, and the half time whistle to be blown.
Some stern words from the Marlow coaches, and some frank comments from within the Ladies ranks at half time made a huge difference.
Marlow put immense pressure on Worthing straight from the kick off, and turned the ball over, allowing the backs to utilise the space afforded to them by a disorganised defence. Full Back Allie Hill crossed in the corner, and was able to loop round behind the posts to create a straight-forward conversion.
For the rest of the half, what seemed like a new Marlow team battered the Worthing defences, and held strong in the face of some spirited attacking by the hosts. 2 more tries from Allie Hill and 3 more from Kate Argent, and some successes on the resultant kicks, as well as a surprise penalty shot at goal meant that the final score was 48 – 7 to Marlow.
The score does not do Worthing justice at all, and it was a credit to them that they continued to attack until the death. The blue and yellows did in fact scare Marlow mid way through the second half, with an aggressive drive from close to the line creating a chance to cross the line to score their only try. Truth-be-told, Worthing deserved more from the game, and it was Marlow’s fitness that was the main contributor to the score line at the end.
Of the game, Marlow RUFC Ladies Head Coach Ben Smiley said “The Ladies have worked really hard this season, both on the pitch to improve as individuals and as a team, and off the field to recruit more players. This commitment to the team has seen the squad swell to 25 players, from 17 or 18 last season. It is clear to see from the training and games that the increased numbers is improving all that we do, and there is now a renewed determination to win this league.”
Marlow RUFC Ladies 3rd consecutive win now sees them sitting pretty at the top of the National Championship, South East West 2 division – a league that they only joined 1 season ago, and fought tooth and nail to stay in last season. Now riding a bit of a wave, Marlow host 2nd placed Barnes at Riverwoods on 27th February, before going on to play 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th places between now and the beginning of April.
It will be a tough task to remain in place, however the fixture pattern over the next few weeks might well see Marlow open up a gap at the top.