Wildcats dig deep to fight to the end against Horsham
By Graham Shaw
Scoreline doesn't tell the whole story
After a gap in training this week due to frozen pitches, the Wildcats came out in force again. A squad of 13 turned out against a team from Horsham on the main pitch in front of a bumper crowd. At the time of organising the fixture, I didn't know quite how strong they were. Little did I know they are still playing in the National Cup, have beaten most teams put in front of them including Guildfordians, Old Reigatians, Sutton & Epsom and regularly get 20-25 at training - these are targets we can aim for in the coming seasons. They arrived with an experienced squad of 19 and showed the great rugby values to lend 2 players to Warlingham to make it 15 a side.
The game started in windy conditions and the Wildcats came out strongly looking to put pressure from the kick off. After a few passages of play, Horsham made their first breakthrough and the challenge was set. The following periods of play allowed Warlingham to demonstrate their fierce tackling and strong scrummaging. Jodie was relentless in pushing forward and dropping player after player as well as pulling her team with her.
Horsham continued to show their strength and pushed through the middle scoring several more tries. Wildcat heads could have dropped but they continued to put in tackle after tackle and managed to get some great turnovers through teamwork in the mauls - Finty and Nirvana showed their strength to hold players up for fun. Before half time, Kyra decided the best form of defence was attack and with a slight detour across the pitch, she demonstrated her 800m running skills by beating Horsham on the outside and powering home from well inside our own half. Maybe we should introduce this tactic in future!
The second half continued in the same fashion with Horsham sending their strongest players up through the middle and continued to score. The team's determination showed by working hard going up the slope but the defensive effort took its toll and with the wind against them it was a tough shift. No one stopped, no one gave in and the girls did themselves proud with their effort. Before the end of the game, Kyra showed her wheels for a second time with another 60m run uphill scoring a fantastic try against the odds. At the death, Horsham continued to push forward but Megan, who was playing full back for the first time, made several try saving tackles including getting beaten, turning around and chasing down with a quality tackle.
Once again it was great to hear the compliments come from Horsham parents and coaches who have clearly seen a good few teams. They were impressed at how the Wildcats kept on going and were really praising the team's mauling and tackle technique - they described it as a tough test for their girls. They have asked for joint training sessions which is a credit to the girls that others want us involved. I'd like to thank Horsham for making the trip up to us and for their girls that played in blue and white today. Good luck in the National Cup.
Great to see: attitude, commitment, tackle/maul technique, 1st half scrummaging
Team work ons: Starting confident, wanting the ball more than the opposition, using our width.
Next week is the Surrey U15 trials followed the week after by a tough game against Wimbledon in the Cup. Looking forward to seeing everyone continue to develop and go again as a squad - stronger together!