On Sunday 12 November the Lionesses hosted the East Sussex Barbarians, formed of players from Seaford, Hastings, Haywards Heath and Chichester. Lewes are proud to have been one of the founding members of the Barbarians last season so today pitted ex-teammates against each other.
Lewes were straight on the attack having received the kick off and some rumbling forward drives put the Barbarians on the back foot and the ball made its way to Lara P playing at 12 who punched a hole in the defence to score the first try of the day. The kick went through, and Lewes were on the board.
That set the tone for the rest of the match. Leading from the front, the Captain Ellie W bullied in the forwards and The Lionesses had scrum dominance, a pack that was happy to ruck, backs that liked to run and players looking to move the ball into space, despite the sticky pitch conditions. Runs down the wing from Rose B and Lil B in very sticky conditions showed a confidence in the backs. A number of players put their hands up for the coaches player of the match. The try tally is as follows; Lara P – 2, Tabitha M – 1, Edith R – 2, Edith C – 2, Rose B – 1, and Annie B – 1. 45 points from tries alone. Step up and take a bow our No 10, Edit R. 100% conversion rate, which is absolutely fantastic. One of the hardest working people on the pitch was Ava our inured player who turned up to support and acted as touch judge. She kept having to dash under the posts, signal the conversion and then run back for the restart.
The Lionesses didn’t get it all their own way, however. The Barbarians attack started to click which meant that the Lewes defence had to work hard at times to keep them at bay and try to force the turnover. The fact that they have only just come together this season was the difference. The Lionesses cohesiveness proved too much and the final score of 63-0 to the Lionesses does the Barbarians an injustice. The fact that they can come together, train under different coaches, play as a team and not let their heads drop at all, does them great credit.
The Barbarians voted our sublime No 10, Edith R as their player of the match due to her assured kicking from the tee. The coaches player of the match was another Edith, Edith C for her confidence under the highball, bullocking runs in attack, fantastic defence and her brace of tries, plus a few assists.
The on Sunday 19th Nov, after much rain and question marks over where the match would be held, our brave Lionesses ventured north to Crowborough RFC to play a combined Crowborough & Heathfield team, CrowField (see what I did there?).
“More of the same, please” was the coaching request. For the first time this season, we aimed to play a full 15-a-side match. That would mean we had no subs, but the young ladies of Lewes were up for it. But then, as the players warmed up, tragedy. Lara P, recovering from an injury from the previous week, was clearly not ready to come back to play. She was absolutely gutted to be told to rest by the team manager. It was definitely the correct call; player welfare comes first. With the Lionesses down to 14, CrowField kindly lent us a player and the game commenced. “More of the same” was the request, and the Lionesses duly obliged.
From the start, the players ran, rucked, mauled and sprinted into a healthy lead. In defence they were solid. The Captain, Grace B-P led from the front and was usually the first in the tackle showing through her actions what she needed from the team. The referee was happy to let the game flow, but was very strict with the high tackle and a few times Lewes were on the receiving end of his whistle. The Lionesses ability to stretch the play was clear. Tries from Queenie (2), Edith R, Tabitha M, Molly C, Lil B, Edith C, Molly S and Rose B showed how the game was a combination of forward grunt and backs slick running. Most pleasing for the author was the try from Molly S. This usually quiet player was shouting for the ball throughout the match. She was eager to run at her opposite number and when she did receive the ball, always put the team on the front foot. The ball came out from the far side, went through the hands of a number of players with the last pass putting Molly S into space, but still with 60 metres to go. She made it look easy and the touch judge had a hard time keeping up with her.
The players didn’t get it all their own way. Some powerful runs from CrowFIeld required the drift defence to work hard. Two scrums on the 5m tested the forwards and it was from one of these that the CrowField scrum-half sold a dummy and put her teammate through into the corner late in the game. The large crowd on the Crowborough clubhouse balcony let out a mighty cheer, some honour had been restored! Final score – CrowField 5 – Lewes 55
The CrowField team nominated Edith R as their player of the match. Her kicking was fantastic, especially a very tricky one from 5m in from touch in the final minutes. Her work in the midfield was outstanding, too. The coaches player went to Tabitha M who, despite her size could usually be found tackling players much bigger than her, her runs with the ball, her Try and her rucking and support also contributed to the award.
Three league games, three wins for the Lionesses means that heading into the East v West part of the league has the Lewes Lionesses in top spot. Well done to all the players, the hard work put in during training is paying off.