Halifax Ladies v Derby Vipers
Strong Derby side prevail over significantly improving Ladies squad writes Grayham Smith
With excellent conditions overhead and underfoot, Halifax started in an impressive positive note taking the play straightway to the visitors. Rebecca Waites and Sophie Wiseman were prominent in driving play well up into the Derby half; good handling was well in evidence. It took ten minutes to advance the score as scrum half Rebecca Dennison, busy at the base of the ruck, linked with Sarah Clough to enable nippy winger Alicia Parkinson over for an unconverted try.
There followed a prolonged period of play within the two 22 meter lines; both sides were intent on playing attractive rugby but defences predominated. The Derby full back was very quick and caused some concern but full back Annya Highley brought off a fine try saving tackle of her counterpart in the 27th. minute .
Derby however were gaining in confidence and application and a good period of pressure resulted after 32 minutes, in their first score close in. It was duly converted .
As the half came to a close, Halifax fought back well and, in turn, applied sustained pressure on the visitors try line . Second rower Amy Jones was strong in picking and driving over from close range . Clough converted to lead 12--7 at the break.
On resumption, Derby took the initiative which, until late in the game, was never surrendered. They handled well and drove the ball upfield effectively, backing each other up and dominating possession. Halifax also suffered from a lack of ball and were relegated to second best in the tight scrummage and at the ruck. Derby were a big strong side and in the second half, at least, began to want the victory more.
Halifax heads did not go down and kept up a strong show of tackling although, no doubt, that would have reduced in effect with the opposition bombardment.
The Halifax spirit revived towards the end; they battered the line and retained the ball for several phases allowing Clough to power over.
The Ovenden Parkers with a significantly improving squad, were effective in the key ruck, scrummage and handling areas but the strength of Derby and their dominance of possession, as the game went on, prevailed.
Cover Photo by Bev Clough Photography