Ashfield Ladies stung by Vipers in narrow defeat
An agonisingly narrow defeat was suffered by Ashfield Ladies in their third match of the new season in the North East One division of the National Conference.
It was a very evenly-matched affair, with point-scoring at a premium, but Ashfield went down 7-5 to continue their mixed start to the campaign.
The visitors came out of the starting blocks quickly, and looked the better side in the early exchanges, taking the game to Derby and dominating set play.
The Ashfield forwards, led by prop and coaches’ player-of-the-match Leanne Reeves, consistently pushed back the home team, turning over several scrums.
However, despite this hard work, it was Derby who put the first points on the board with a breakthrough try by their backs to score under the posts. The easy conversion enabled them to build a 7-0 lead.
In response, Ashfield enjoyed a good spell of possession, but they were unable to finish their chances and could not get on the scoresheet before the half-time interval.
With so little between the sides, the match was still very much up for grabs in the second half when possession swung to and fro.
Ashfield continued to put the effort in, with excellent work by flanker and players’ player-of-the-match Elena Martin-Lopez, who was all over the pitch, taking the ball on and making crucial tackles.
Finally, they broke their duck as a quickly-taken penalty by scrum-half Bek Daft saw the ball deftly shipped to number eight Danii Booth, who powered over the line for a try. Unfortunately, the conversion was unsuccessful, leaving the score at 7-5.
For the rest of the game, Ashfield had the majority of the possession, but they could not find another way past a strong Derby defence. Despite pinning the hosts in their own 22, there were no more points and the match ended in Derby’s favour for their first victory of the season.
Ashfield will now be hoping for improvement and better fortune when they take a break from league action this coming weekend and entertain Birmingham Moseley in the first round of the Intermediate Cup. Moseley hail from a different league, so it promises to be an interesting clash.
Ashfield’s next league fixture is away to Rochdale outfit, Littleborough Ladies, on Sunday, October 22 (kick-off 3 pm). This is followed by another game on their travels, against York Railway Institute Ledies, on Sunday, November 12 (kick-off 3 pm). Their next home game is on December 3.