Derby Women v Long Eaton Ladies 15th January 2023


After 4 straight wins players and coaches were hopeful of getting a result against the runaway league leaders. The match was under threat from the weather earlier in the week due to the risk of flooding, as it was we had to play on the grass pitch due to the flood preventative measures put in place to prevent expensive damage to our AGP pitch. We won last time out on grass so no fears from the home team.

Long Eaton (LE) kicked the match off, was caught and returned strongly by Katie. After a ruck or two we were pinged for not releasing the ball, LE took a tap & go which we didn’t react quickly enough to and the opposition were able to score a try in the first minute, not converted. 0-5 after 1’

2’ later LE again broke through our line effectively using hand offs to dot down for another try which again went unconverted. 3’ played, 0-10 down.

From the resultant kick off LE received the ball but was stolen by Carmel and then passed through the line for first Tanya, then Hoody, Matilda & Yves to make ground until Carmel was forced into touch. That gave LE a line-out that was stolen well by Grace who caught and released to Gemma and quickly moved the ball down the line for us to attack LE defences who were subsequently pinged for being offside on the 22. Decision taken to kick for the posts and was superbly struck by Abbie to put our first points on the board. 9’ gone, 3-10.

LE restarted, was again well received by the home team. Strong runs by Matilda, Tanya & Lakey failed to yield any ground so Lakey kicked for us to chase. LE gathered the ball and swiftly penalised us by working round the side to again score, this time near the posts. Try was converted. 3-17 after 11’.

Following the kick off Derby were pinged for a high tackle which LE kicked to touch for a line out. This wasn’t straight so we had our first scrum of the match (after 15’, such a change from last week!). Derby won the scrum, it was kicked for territory, Tanya managed to tackle the receiver on half way but LE were able to move the ball wide again for another strong run and breached the line for a 4th try which went unconverted. 3-22 after 16’.

Derby restart, won by Derby with good pressure. Ball was stripped from Hoody in the tackle, LE went again but following good defence by Atton & Yves and a first rate tackle by Abbie LE knocked on. The scrum was again won by Derby and after a couple of plays Lakey took the ball forward and unfortunately in the tackle sustained what initially looked a bad injury to her ankle. This caused play to stop and Erin to replace Lakey on 22’. Following the scrum restart Derby won the ball going backwards, Gemma recovered the situation and LE went over the top to concede a penalty. We tapped & went, Matilda, Hoody & Atton made penetrative runs supported by clear outs by Erin & Ella releasing Carmel out wide who was unfortunately knocked on. She stole the ball back almost immediately to make up for this but advantage granted so LE scrum.

From this scrum the ball was taken by the number 8, ran down the right side of the pitch and scored in the corner for a further unconverted try. 3-27 after 26’.

After the kick off there was a LE scrum taken against the head by our hooker Amelia, moved down the line again until the ball was lost forward. The Derby pack monstered the scrum causing LE to collapse and concede a penalty which Atton put to touch. Another great throw by Amelia and catch by Grace put us on the front foot. Abbie picked up a bouncing ball, moved through Erin & Yves out to Baz who was taken into touch by the opposition.
We put huge pressure on LE after the line out causing them to drop the ball which Tanya pounced on. LE found themselves offside, the referee spotted it and after a short period of advantage Derby were awarded the penalty. This again was put through the posts by the unerring Abbie. 6-27 on 35’.
Ella & Atton were replaced at this point by Steph & Esther, followed by Lauren coming on for Ruth who had carried strongly throughout the half.

HALF TIME – 6-27.

Second half resumed with Derby kicking, LE caught but good pressure from the home side turned the ball over from which LE found themselves offside again giving Derby another penalty, just out of kicking range. Derby conceded a penalty from the next play for going offside themselves. Derby pressed hard preventing the same go-forward LE had shown in the first half, and a strong Baz tackle put the opposition player into touch for a Derby line out. Although line out lost, Amelia made a great tackle epitomising the Derby press and causing a Derby scrum following the knock on.
We moved the ball around the pitch getting close to the LE 5m line and LE giving away another knock on. Abbie was then able to get close again with the support of Yves, ball recycled to Matilda who took into contact and was somehow stripped by LE on the floor.
Again LE tried to move forward but Derby’s press was strong, causing LE to take the ball over their own line giving Derby a 5m scrum. Gemma sniped but was picked up by LE who passed the ball back over their own line again to clear. Pass was misplaced by LE, Gemma reacted quickest of all to touch the ball down for a try to Derby. The whole team were absolutely elated for her! Abbie then converted for the extra points, 13-27 after 53’.

Hoody came off after another solid performance for Laura to come on.

The press from Derby continued, even when LE were in our half, LE being penalised for holding on in the ruck allowing Matilda to tap & go, release Katie who made good metres for us to get the ball out wide to Yves who was put into touch. It was even-stevens in the middle of the park, Derby winning the ball from LE as often as they did from us. From one of these exchanges we were pinged for hands in the ruck, LE went quickly and with a step and a hand off they were over the line for a try, conversion missed. 13-32 on 62’

After the kick off Esther walked through the LE ruck holding 3 players at bay on her own. Her teammates didn’t react quickly enough to this opportunity and the moment was lost but what a show of strength!
We moved the ball across the pitch giving us the chance to advance and managed gain to get within their 22 where we knocked on.
On 68’ Dr Grace replaced Erin who had put in a sterling shift.
After the scrum, we stole LE ball again and they were pinged again for holding on. We moved their defence across the pitch, Grace nearly over the line following Matildas run, it was moved to the other side again where the pass was dropped with the winger waiting out wide.
We still kept the pressure up, forcing another turnover after the scrum was lost. Unfortunately LE won it back and sent the ball to their winger who rampaged through our tiring defence to score another try on 71’, missed conversion. 13-37.

From the kick off, LE ran at us again and with some more fierce hand offs the score their last try to make the score 13-42. Again unconverted, 73’

Clara came on for Baz at this point.

No more scores in the final 7 minutes despite some great pressure from us in attack & defence. LE looked odds on to score again until Esther made an awesome tackle out wide, halting momentum stone dead and allowing Carmel to put the player and ball off the pitch.

FINAL SCORE: Derby Women 13- Long Eaton Ladies 42 .

A great contest, overall we were beaten by the better team. Some things to be proud of though:
– Scrum was awesome
– Line outs were strong
– Press was good
– Spirit never wavered.
Things to learn from:
– Tackle lower
– Ruck defence?

Forward of the match: Grace Suszek
Back of the match: Gemma Halliwell
Opposition player: Abbie Pearce
Coaches player: Tanya Donkin

We are now 7th in the league but only 2 points away from 2nd place. Next match on Sunday 22nd away to Coventry Welsh.