Cullompton Ladies 10, Guildford Gazelles 38 – 4th February 2018
The Gazelles made the long trip to Devon on Sunday to take on Cullompton ladies. After the long drive it was essential the Gazelles started strongly as although Cullomptonís league position isnít great they had had decent results at home.
Fortunately this was the case, playing into a strong wind forced the Gazelles to run the ball from deep, moving the ball from side to side the Gazelles made inroads into the Cullompton half with strong runs from Harmony Driver and Ruth Harper, this led to great interplay between Naomi Keddie and skipper Victoria Boothman allowing centre Lottie Brown to collect an offload and score close to the posts, converted by Kate Jenkins.
Immediately from the deep kick off Guildford again launched an attack, making gains down the right side the Gazelles approached half way suddenly switching their point of attack the ball found its way to Driver on the other side of the pitch, showing a turn of pace rarely seen she beat the covering defenders to score from 50m out.
Not satisfied being 14-0 up the Gazelles scored quickly again through Boothman to stretch their lead to 19-0.
This finally spurred Cullompton into life as their 15 started to use the wind and finally applied pressure to the Gazelles try line. Repeated infringements from the Gazelles finally allowed the big Cullompton pack to bulldoze over the line leaving the score at 19-5 at halftime.
The game was beginning to get a little feisty and the Gazelles knew that they had to maintain focus on winning the battle on the scoreboard rather than being dragged into a dogfight. fortunately the trusty boot of Jenkins backed by the wind steered Guildford continually into Cullomptons 22 where Guildford took their opportunities; firstly makeshift centre Emily Joy powered through to score under the posts followed quickly by Gracie New, both converted by Jenkins. Finally, after a strong catch and drive from the Gazelles pack of nearly 20m Keddie identified that the blindside was unmarked and scampered over making the score 38-5 which is how it ended.
Although this was a strong performance by the Gazelles the game was unfortunately marred by frequent off the ball incidents which seemed to go unnoticed by the officials and a Guildford player had to leave the pitch injured after a particularly unsavoury incident.
Coach Ross Brooker was immensely proud at full time noting that ìto travel this far and come away with a bonus point win in very trying circumstances is a testament to this group of ladies. I have often seen teams drawn into the game the opposition want to play so Iím pleased we stuck to playing rugby and let the scoreboard do the talking.