A terrific performance earned Ashfield Ladies’ rugby union team a morale-boosting victory in the Midlands First Division of the Women’s National Conference.
Ashfield travelled south to take on Five Ways Old Edwardians, who are based in the Birmingham area, and returned home with a convincing 36-5 success to cement their position of third in the table, just four points behind leaders Old Leamingtonian Ladies.
Now they are full of confidence for this Sunday’s big match in the Third Round of the Women’s Junior Cup when they welcome Kenilworth Ladies, of Warwickshire, to Larwood Park in Kirkby.
Ashfield quickly ran off their travel legs, making good use of a scrum after a Five Ways knock-on, recycling the ball well and feeding the the backs, who showed exquisite handling skills to supply winger Jess Cranmer for the opening try.
The visitors continued to work hard in attack and defence, with players’ player-of-the-match Elena Martin Lopez making several strong runs and coach’s player-of-the-match Lauren Dearing making some crucial, hard-hitting tackles.
Five Ways did make the most of penalties Ashfield gave away, drawing level at 5-5. But from then on, Ashfield really clicked as a team and piled on the pressure. After a lineout steal by second row Martin Lopez, a scrum led to flanker Vicki Fegan scoring the second try, which was converted by Chip Harrison for a half-time lead of 12-5.
From the restart, Ashfield charged into the Five Ways half, and it wasn’t long before Cranmer struck again after good work by captain and fly-half Danii Booth and prop Leanne Reeves.
Full-back Harriet Gibbs was next on the scoresheet, and when Booth put in a 40-yard run, Cranmer completed her hat-trick to make the score 29-5.
The Ashfield forwards and backs worked smoothly as a unit, which led to their final try when Booth offloaded to second row Nicola Wallace, who showed fine strength in getting over the line, dragging several of the opposition with her. With Harrison converting for a third time, the visitors bagged a welcome bonus point to complete an excellent day’s work.