Warlingham Wildcats 5 v Guildford Gazelles 65 – Ladies Cup (1st Round)
The Gazelles travelled to Warlingham on Sunday for the first round of the Surrey Cup. Although dry, a strong and bitterly cold easterly wind was sure to play a part in the proceedings.
The Wildcats are a recently formed team and the Gazelles experience showed early on with good use of the wind as fly half and lady of the match Kayleigh Balchin Put the Gazelles into opposition territory where after a few phases of play, captain Vicky Boothman linked with scrum half Gracie New on the blindside to exploit space in the defence and dash over for the first try of the day, converted by Balchin
Further territorial gain and good work by the forwards created an overlap for the Gazelles. Unfortunately winger for the day Emily Joy was harshly denied a try when the referee adjudged that the ball was not correctly grounded. However, not to be denied, a poor clearance from the scrum by the Wildcats allowed Joy to dance through the defence and score in the corner.
This was to set the tone for the first half with the Gazelles playing in the opposition half and using the forward pack to create phases and disrupt the Wildcats defence leaving space for the backs to exploit and score a further 5 tries. A first half hatrick for Hattie Roberts, another for Captain Boothman and a try for Gracie New with two more conversions took the score out to 41-0 at the interval.
Guildford used half time as an opportunity to rotate their squad, making 6 changes. There was a brief pause in the Gazelles dominance as the side bedded in, allowing the Wildcats young team to play and show the obvious future potential that they hold. However, this was short-lived as Guildford again gained a foothold on territory and ascendancy scoring a further 4 tries; 2 more for Roberts and one a piece for stalwart Debbie Hayden and Charlie Thornbery. The Wildcats got a late consolation through a driving maul but the day belonged to the Gazelles.
Coach Ross Brooker commented that he was pleased with the amount of tries scored in the trying conditions but added “the top of the table clash against Newbury Ladies at theirs next Sunday means we will have to step up a level in training this week if we are to beat the undefeated league leaders.