Halifax Ladies Win at Home After a Tough First Half
By Grayham Smith
This was a game of the proverbial two halves , the first being devoid of significant action , the second producing an engaging contest -- for players and observers alike.
The only exception to that view was, after five minutes play, a break away try to the visitors down the left wing where the scorer, unopposed, ran some 70 meters to score . Play thereafter was centred around the half way mark, give or take 20 meters although the Halifax no. 8 , Becky Waites, was beginning to stamp her authority upon the proceedings . Emma Flowers at fly half also put in some good relieving kicks and Toni Davison was solid in defence at centre.
Harshly five minutes from half time, centre Lucy Cochrane was yellow carded for an alleged high tackle but Doncaster were unable to take any benefit from their resulting numerical advantage.
From the Halifax point of view, they on balance had been the more constructive side and that was borne out in the second half, especially with the strong wind in their favour but up to that point ball retention and aggression, particularly in the ruck, was lacking as was awareness of the loose ball.
What a change came over the team in the second half! Doubtless stirred by the words of coach Simon Myers, Halifax promptly went on the offensive from which they seldom withdrew. Second rower Fiona Armstrong and flanker Jen Curtis soon carried strongly followed by a break by centre Shelley Thompson carried on by her co centre Davison. What would have been a scoring pass went astray but the way to the line had been shown and the combination of patience and strength close in brought the opening try by Flowers for Halifax, scrum half Becky Abbott-Hynes having demonstrated good distributional skill.
Some ten minutes later, with Waites playing a tireless role up front, Halifax were camped on the visitors line; they were under pressure indicated by their handling in the ruck. From ten metres out Lucy Cochrane was unstoppable and with Flowers conversion and the clear improvement in skill levels, it was looking ominous for Doncaster.
Handling had improved, tackling was sound, possession was being retained, support was at hand; dominance was imposed . After good driving work by Charlotte Palethorpe, from close in Armstrong went over for a try, again converted by Flowers – 19-5.
Halifax were once again on the opposition line at the end when history repeated itself and, for Doncaster, prop Michelle Holdsworth appeared from a maul into an open field ; she off loaded to their quick winger who sprinted some 80 meters to score – after which the final whistle!
After an uninspiring first half Halifax had produced a fine team effort .