Thursday, 23 October 2014

Match Report: Swansea University Women's RFC 32-5 Plymouth University Women's RFC

Swansea University Women’s recorded the first win of their BUCS Western 1A campaign with a comfortable home success over Plymouth at Sketty Lane.
The Green and Whites, who went down 14-0 at Bristol last week, had too much experience across the park for their opponents in what was at times a training game.
Despite dominating the first 40 minutes, Swansea were perhaps guilty of switching off after the break as the game's continuity was broke up by changes and injuries.
Swansea were cruising at the interval and were 25 points to the good, but the second half was a much closer fought affair with Plymouth frustrating their hosts for large periods.
Despite the disjointed nature of the match, a number of players stood out on both sides. For Swansea the half back combination of Rhian Perry and Meg Griffiths worked well, while the back row of Lydia Shelton, Kate Jones and Roz MacRow-Wood were dynamic in both the loose and at the breakdown. For Plymouth outside half Kat Smith and flanker Lucy Robinson were the catalyst for everything positive from the side.
A scrappy start saw both sides guilty of turning over quality possession but a quick tap penalty from scrum-half Perry got the hosts moving, with Griffiths making good yardage in support. After several phases the ball was recycled with centre Becca Cottam guilty of fumbling the ball with the line at her mercy.
The pressure was building on the visitors' line-Beth Sheen was scragged just short for Swansea and it was a case of when, not if, Swansea would score with Perry on hand to dart over.
The hosts' lead was soon doubled after the centre partnership of Cottam and Nicola Jones combined well with the latter touching down.
It was one way traffic now as Plymouth struggled to get out of their own 22 let alone their half and Swansea were soon adding to their tally first through Shelton and then prop Stephanie Evans.
With Plymouth unable to clear their lines, another Swansea score before the break was inevitable and came through Shelton as the flanker showed great strength to barge over from five yards out.
The second half began as the first had ended with Swansea well on top and when Griffiths converted her own score, the match was all but over as a contest.
With the match won Swansea’s structure began to fade and they failed to do the basics correctly with forced offloads, dropped passes and turnovers blighting their game.
The English outfit continued to battle hard-Robinson broke from 60 metres out and only a brilliant last ditch tackle from Griffiths was able to deny her.
Plymouth now had their tails up and began to press for a consolation - winger India Roberts was held up but the visitors eventually got their reward when Molly Humphries drove over the Swansea whitewash.
Swansea should have had the final say but were unable to find the final pass, with support play a real issue as players began to flag.
Despite the game fizzling out, prop Evans did produce one moment of magic with a hand off and step to elude a number of defenders before being tackled.
Swansea host Bristol University next Wednesday and with Welsh Varsity rivals Cardiff in the same league as the Green and Whites, this year all eyes will be on that derby on November 19.

Player of the Match: Lydia Shelton (Swansea University)


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