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Eagles Women lose to Oulton Raidettes


Sheffield Eagles Women travelled away this weekend to face an even tougher encounter against Oulton Raidettes who were last year’s division champions.

A slow start from the Eagles proved immediately costly. Leaky defence then possession squandered invited Oulton into the Eagles red zone. Two plays later and Oulton were over by the right of the posts making for an easy conversion. Score 6-0.

After a brief rally after the restart the Eagles again conceded substantial ground, got the numbers short on their right edge defending off the goal line, and Oulton crossed again on the 9th minute, converting for 12-0.

This time after the restart the Eagles demonstrated resilience defending out three Oulton sets. On gaining possession from a scrum on the Oulton 35m, the Eagles worked the ball out to the right and back to the centre near the posts. In the 18th minute acting half back Wood spotted weak ruck defence from 10m out, scooting off to cross at the right of the posts. Green converted for 12-6.

The next seven minutes had the teams going set for set until yet again Wood from the ruck on the Eagles 25m spotted space on the short side on the right to set up the try of the game.

With an outstanding side-step Wood rounded the edge defenders, fended off a scramble defender on the half way, racing 50m up field to find winger Thomas backing up brilliantly on the inside to take the pass 20m out and score by the posts in the 25th minute. Green converted for 12-12.

The remainder of the half played out with the sides going set for set without further score.

Half-time: Oulton Raidettes 12 – 12 Sheffield Eagles Women

The first 6 minutes continued in much the same vein as the last quarter of the first half until the Eagles conceded a penalty in front of the posts for a seemingly robust tackle the referee interpreted as dangerous. Surprisingly Oulton opted to kick for goal and took a 14-12 lead.

Oulton then followed this up with more pressure eventually breaking through the Eagles left side goal line defence in the 51st minute, converting to extend their lead to 20-12.

Oulton continued with the pressure from the restart aided by repeated errors from the Eagles trying to drive out of their red zone. A stoppage for an injury, a loss of concentration and urgency by the A defenders on the goal line, and the Oulton acting half back sneaked between them to score in the 59th minute, converted for 26-12.

Oulton then exerted their superiority punching holes through the middle and shifting the ball out to the edges and back again, constantly moving the Eagles defence around. Eventually on receiving the ball on their 20m Oulton went quickly up field to score through excellent close support play in the 65th minute, converting again for 32-12.

However in the last 15 minutes to their credit, the Eagles rallied to prevent Oulton scoring again, and even exerted a spell of sustained pressure thwarted only by Oulton’s well drilled drift defence.

Full-time: Oulton Raidettes 32 – 12 Sheffield Eagles Women

Tries: Wood, Thomas
Goals: Green (2 conversions)

Although the Eagles left the field somewhat dispirited, there were still spells of play that demonstrated continued improvement. As to the defeat, more a case of a team missing three of their middle forwards whilst the strength in depth is still in development.

All-in-all a good benchmark against a well drilled team and last season’s division winners.

Player of the Match for the Eagles went to scrum half Sarah Palmer for yet another top notch effort.

By Barry Wood, picture by RL Pix