Derby Women’s Rugby 1st team 57-14 Warwick Women’s Rugby 1st team: Home side cruise into semi-final of the cup
Words and images by James McCormick.
Derby Women’s 1st ran out 57-14 winners over Warwick Women’s 1st, to send the home side through to the semi-finals of the Midlands Conference Cup.
A statement of intent was shown when Lara Smith started the game with a strong hit, which set the tone for the Derby performance: confident, hard-hitting, and successful.
Monique Gabbidon scored her first of the afternoon only 8 minutes in, after the team recovered from a close try being dropped just moments earlier. Becky Greenslade converted; her first of six for the afternoon.
The next ten minutes saw Derby taken aback with two tries scored against the Women’s side. Both were converted, leaving the score at 7-14 after a slow opening quarter. However, what was needed was mental strength and the ability to react with intent, both something this side have in abundance.
Play restarted, and after a kick was played into the opposition half the Warwick side were convinced the ball would go out on the right side. So, they waited for it to bobble off; and waited; And waited; It never did, and Derby took full advantage of this as they stole the ball from under the oppositions noses and scored a try to the disbelief of the away team.
Back in it, the Derby women pushed on and Lilyella Hart scored a try to put the home team ahead. Derby hit again minutes later, after the ball was taken from a try and passed on well by Greenslade, who found the channel on the left side of the pitch, where the Warwick backline was with pace but no response, leading to another Derby try.
The game was nothing less than a memorable one for Coral McShane, who scored her first two tries in two years. Her first came at the end of the first half, stealing the ball from a busy ruck and bursting through the centre to hit between the posts, setting up an easy conversion for Greenslade.
McShane started the second half in the same fashion, who ran three quarters of the pitch to score once again. The speed displayed meant the Warwick back line had no chance of catching her, which was very much representative of the two sides on a whole.
Gabbidon went the extra mile for her second try of the day, with the ball stuck in the left corner in Derby’s possession. No way could be found past the back line, where Warwick had gotten most of their team over to blockade. However, after Derby held in there, Gabbidon was just about able to dive the ball over the line, pushing the score to 45-14 following the conversion.
Smith wanted more of the action, and only minutes after being substituted on she scored a try of her own, straight through the centre, before Derby hit once more to finish the game.
The fantastic 57-14 sees Derby go through to the semi-finals of the cup, where they will take on the University of Birmingham.