Ashfield Ladies held to draw in top-of-the-table showdown

TOP-OF-THE-TABLE DUEL -- action from Ashfield Ladies' draw at Lincoln.
TOP-OF-THE-TABLE DUEL -- action from Ashfield Ladies' draw at Lincoln.

The spoils were shared when top-of-the-table Ashfield Ladies travelled to tackle Lincoln Ladies, their closest rivals in the Midlands 2 North division of the Women’s National League.

Ashfield went into the match with a healthy five-point lead, but Lincoln had a game in hand, so there was no room for error. In the end, it finished 10-10 to leave the race for the champions’ crown unchanged.

All the points were scored in the first half when Ashfield started well, but Lincoln got the early breakthrough as their captain ran through the defensive line to score the first try, which was converted.

Undterred, the visitors attacked straight from the restart. Carrying and recycling the ball well, they capitalised on a period of possession and moved the ball to the left wing where try-machine Jess Cranmer wasn’t going to miss.

As Ashfield gained in confidence, hooker Lucy Cargill, the players’ player-of-the-match, began to show how much she has developed through the season, winning several of Lincoln’s scrums, and it wasn’t long before Cranmer was on the mark again after a blindside move also involving Danii Both, Bek Deft and captain Leonie Cruxon that was straight from the training field.

Errors crept into Ashfield’s game as they started to give away penalties, one of which was kicked from distance to bring the hosts level by half-time. But they were the better team by far in the second half and spent most of the time deep in Lincoln territory. Coaches’ player-of-the-match Chip Harrison kept running at the home forwards, and only mistakes and missed opportunmities let Lincoln off the hook. Despite a series of scrums, lineouts and penalties, Ashfield couldn’t find a way through as the home team somehow held on for the draw.

This weekend, Ashfield take a break from league action to play Old Leamingtonians in the Fourth Round of the Women’s Junior Cup.