Five Ways Old Edwardians Ladies 0 Rugby Lionesses Ladies 59
The Lionesses could perhaps have been forgiven for being tempted to take this top versus bottom fixture a bit lightly.
But with coach Barry Rees and captain Gemma Booker on their case, there was no chance of that happening and it turned out to be clear how much each member of the team was committed to the cause.
So a big victory with the bonus of keeping a clean sheet in defence took the Lionesses back to the top of the league to take the psychological advantage into the top versus second clash against Tewkesbury on Sunday.
Rugby’s young team might have held back from attacking the Old Eds on big shoulders but there was nohing but determination as the game finally got going after a delayed start.
With the first attack, prop Louise Kowalowski Fry was able to stamp the quality of the Lionesses’ pack on the game with an early try. That was followed up by a demonstration of the pace in the backs when full back Hollie Adams raced clear from her own half to double the score to 0-10 after 11 minutes.
Despte the big weight disadvantage, the Lionesses were making their tackles count and it was the Old Eds who needed extended treatment for injuries after feeling the force of Rugby tackles.
On the half hour, the Lionesses recovered the ball from a rare Old Eds attack in their 22 and brilliantly fluent play sent Hollie Adams in for a second try with fly half Hayley Kavanagh adding the conversion for 0-17.
Late into the first half, with a good lead in the bag, the Lionesses showed they were not sitting back on their advantage with a period of heavy pressure that was in the end inevatbly rewarded with a good try from lock Sophi Kowalowski Fry again converted by Hayley Kavanagh.
The hard-working flanker Sian Harrison completed the first-half scoring with Rugby’s fifth try for a 0-29 lead.
There was some laughter and smiles among the squad at half time but this was natural exuberance at a job going well and some tough talking from coach, skip and pack leader ensured that everyone had her game head on for the restart.
And that was proved when the Lionesses managed to beat their first-half points total.
Hollie Adams started the scoring with an 80-metre run that showed her stamina as much as her speed as she was chased all the way and then Hayley Kavanagh turned the screw with a well-struck penalty for 0-37.
After another forwards try completed irresistably by Sophi Kowalowski Fry, left wing Emily Stafford then showed that Rugby have pace across the backs with her own long-distance run to the tryline and her third score in three games.
The Lionesses, now 0-47 ahead, still showed no sign of letting up and the result of more impressively joined-up rugby saw Michelle ponter score another try.
The light was fading during the final minutes of the game but the Lionesses were still fully alert and their reward was a tenth and final try scored by Kerry Jackson with Hayley Kavanagh rubbing salt into stinging wounds with a final conversion.
On this performance and with the resolute determination of the players coupled with the effectively pitched coaching and consistent on-field encouragement, no team is going to relish coming up against the Rugby Lionesses in this sort of mood.
Lionesses: H Adams, J Brady, M Ponter, G Booker, E Stafford, H Kavanagh, N Morris, L Kowalowski Fry, T Booker, F Hibberd, K Umney, S Kowalowski Fry, L Judd-Winn, S Harrison, R Sadler. Reps: B Morris, T Cawte, A Shallcross, K Jackson