Massive Progress made
By Tom Kilburn
Performance leaves players, coaches and supporters excited to what lies ahead.
This is the first season for many years that Hinckley has ran a girls section, working in partnership with Leicester Forest, Coalville and Ashby has meant we have been able field a full side week in week out.
Fantastic progress made in such a short space of time should see Hinckley & the Vixens full of confidence going into their next few games.
Without looking at the last few weeks you won't know how far these girls have come...... so here is a look at the last few games first.
In the run up to this game we had played 5 matches winning 2 against Warwickshire Barbarians on both occasions.
Previously when we had played the more established teams Lutterworth and Tamworth, the opposition had arrived with less numbers than ourselves and we lent them players, so we could play 13 or 14 a side. We came unstuck as on the very wide 4G pitch at Leicester Forest, the more experienced teams exploited the space out wide and ran in a lot of points against us without any points on the scoreboard from ourselves.
We then played in a XRugby 7s fixture against another local team Market Harborough and in an hour of rugby the score board finished 93-110 with our girls scoring 17 tries to their 18 (unfortunately they had 6 more in the Max score zone). Again, the similar theme happened we lent the visitors players so they could field 7.
Against Lutterworth again it was a familiar theme with the more established club who are in a little turmoil themselves and too their credit they came across with 10 players. We gave them 2 players, so we could get a competitive game of 12 aside but after previous occasions decided to narrow the pitch by 5 meters either side to allow more of a contest.
The build up to the game filled the girls with a lot of self-belief and unfortunately leaked a couple of early tries down to a lot of strong runs from the Lutterworth 1 & 4. Once the girls found even though the pitch was narrowed they had a lot of potency out wide with some effective running lines from Simmons and Brown we got some of our own points on the score board the confidence began to grow. Half time 19 - 39
It took the players until half time to work out how they needed to deal with the strong ball carriers from Lutterworth and once they got their defensive line speed shorted and the initial tackle lower with a second player joining in higher the game began to swing our way.
Starting the second half strongly with an objective to win the second half buy stopping the strong runners early, Hinckley won a collision and Warrington turned over the ball at a breakdown for the ball to be spread wide and a break out from our own 22 to score a fantastic try.
The girls were given individual challenges before the game, our front row of Hudson, Shurmer, Messam were challenged to increase their work rate which saw some big hits across the field (including an excellent cover tackle on us when playing for the opposition) This also saw Messam involved in finishing off two tries. Our second row were asked to look to be dynamic in their ball carrying and link up with our backs Kennedy and Guy this helped us in our more expansive game. Backrowers Urban and Warrington worked tirelessly at the breakdown and put in some amazing tackles.
Our half back and co-captains Payne & Frew have gelled together so well and their game management is improving week in week out. This week they provided quick ball so the 5 players outside them could score 6 tries. The Center pairing of Jolly (1 try 3 con) & Brown (2 tries) have also gelled with very little getting through the midfield. Our back 3 who all got a try each are working well as a unit with some excellent cover tackles from Simmons, Wilkinson and Flatters.
Final score 46 -59
This only goes to show how much these girls have developed over the last 7 weeks …. our coaches are excited as they know this is only a step in the ladder and the players all have so much more to give as a team.
Asked post match Coach David Kennedy said "This shows that we can play against anybody, even the best teams! It doesn't matter who we play against, we know our strengths so let's play to them".
Supporter Margaret Frew commented "Well done guys!! Some really powerful tackling and even if you didn’t get them down immediately you hung on and then got them down".
Tom Kilburn was left with a big smile on his face praised the girls "Well done for winning the second half 29-20. Some fantastic teamwork from all off you. Very proud of how far you have come so far in such a short space of time. Thank you to the girls (Flatters, Kennedy, Guy, Shurmer, Hudson, Wilkinson, Payne) that played 10 minutes for Lutterworth you put some great performances against us. What excites me is most of this squad have 2 years left at under 18s meaning we have a lot more you can achieve together. ".
Next week should see a further boast with the return of Stander, Driver, McAdam and Oliver as we take on a combination side from Ashfield and Sheffield.