The weather might have been freezing -- but Ashfield Ladies were in hot form as they sailed into the Third Round of the Women’s Junior Cup with a superb win over Coalville.
Ashfield trailed 5-0 at the end of an evenly contested first half after their strong defence had conceded a try. And they even fell 10-0 behind early in the second when Coalville exploited a gap on the wing to bag another try. But they stormed back to draw level and force extra-time before running out 22-10 winners to book a place in the next round on Sunday, January 10.
For most of the match, the two sides looked well matched. Coalville edged the scrums, but Ashfield duo Lauren Dearing and flanker Shannon Poxon put in some tremendous tackles.
Under the inspired leadership of captain Leonie Cruxon, they started their fightback by stepping up a gear and passing the ball through hands to full-back Harrier Gibbs. Demonstrating her Jason Robinson-type ability, Gibbs danced around five opponents before scoring down the right wing.
From the restart, Jess Cranmer made a speedy break, and it wasn’t long before Ashfield were awarded a penalty. It was quickly taken by number eight Danii Booth, who offloaded to second row Nicola Wallace for a try to bring the scores level at 10-10.
That meant an extra period of seven minutes each-way and after a morale-boosting pep talk by the coaches, Ashfield came out hungry for the win. When the ball was recycled through the hands of the backs, scrum-half Bek Daft went over for a well-worked team try to give them the lead for the first time.
The intensity continued and after the ball had been knocked on by Coalville on Ashfield’s ten-metre line, Cranmer saw her opportunity. She scooped up the ball, darted down the wing, outpacing three opponents, and scored under the posts, allowing outside-centre Chip Harrison to slot the conversion and complete the win.