April 5, 2016
Worcester Ladies To Senior Cup Plate Final After Win Against Aylesford
Photo: AJB Photographic – of Megan Goddard
Worcester Ladies Press Release: David Guest, April 5, 2016
Senior Cup – Plate Semi-Final -Aylesford 17 Worcester 26 (April 3rd)
Worcester showed great grit and determination to secure a place in the Plate final against Bristol, to be played on April 23rd at Lichfield.
Worcester travelled with a depleted squad to abstractions, injuries and holidays over the Easter period to find that Aylesford were able to field virtually their full premiership team whilst the visitors started with 14 and ended the game with one less.
Aylesford raised expectations for their supporters from the onset, Maddison Dunbar scoring in the corner inside two minutes before Worcester had touched the ball.
Undaunted, the visitors hit back just two minutes later when the superior pace and handling skills of their backs saw Megan Goddard level the scores, then take the lead converting her own try. An excellent come back from long term injury for Goddard in her first full game of the current campaign.
It was evident from the early exchanges that former England Captain and Aylesford No 8 Catherine Spencer would be a formidable opponent and aided by her much heavier pack, caused considerable disruption to the visitors when in possession. None the less, Worcester tackled hard and made sensible use of the backs when the opportunity presented itself, increasing their lead when Samantha Bree outpaced several defenders to score in the corner. However, Worcester were unable to stop the charge of Spencer just before half time, who drove over the line and with Florence Williams taking the extras, the sore was level at half time.
Worcester announced their intention to continue with enterprising play within four minutes of the restart. Aimee Lensson chipped ahead, Goddard collected, passed to Zoe Bennion who then drew the defence before passing to Steph Clarke to run in from 30 metres, the best rugby of the game. Goddard confidently slotted the conversion.
The irrepressible Spencer then struck again for the home side, combining with Maddison Dunbar to drive over from a tap penalty, brushing aside the visitor’s attempts to tackle. With 47 minutes on the clock, the crowd were being treated to a feast of rugby and expectations of more tries and a high scoring game were high.
Three minutes later as Worcester surged forward again, Bree collected to score under the posts giving Goddard an easy opportunity for the conversion and for the first time in the game, stretching their lead to beyond a converted try.
After the frequent exchanges of scores, Worcester dominated the final 20 minutes with Goddard kicking sensibly to keep the home side on back foot and at the end of the game it was smiles of satisfaction from the players.
With so many of the second team playing for Worcester, and given the difference in pace and skill level between Midlands 2 and the Premiership, this was a most encouraging performance. It would be difficult to actually select a Worcester player of the game, not so for Aylesford though, with Spencer being a colossus.
Worcester would like to thank our sponsors: VetsNow, NMU, Foil Specialist, Gardiner Fosh, Worcestershire County Council, Knowle Sports, Aline and AJB Photographic for their continued support. Also sincere thanks to supporters who made the 400 mile round trip and assisted with various jobs on the day, greatly appreciated.