Lancaster University Women’s Rugby Union team (LUWRUFC) have bounced back after starting the season with an emphatic loss, and are now pushing for a league title while eyeing up the latter stages of the cup competition.
The season started badly for the Lancaster side with a heavy loss to Bangor University. Lancaster lost 7-30 to the Welsh side in what was admittedly more of a reintroduction game for the home team. However, LUWRUFC were not to be disheartened and rallied back the following week with an emphatic win against Keele. The final score was 45-5 with two tries from new captain and scrum-half Robyn Smyth.
This victory was followed by a 7-5 win against Chester in the BUCS Cup; a late try coming from a sudden break by the Lancaster 22 was swiftly followed by a conversion. Lancaster secured the result with a dogged defensive display in the closing ten minutes.
After a two week rest, Lancaster recorded a 3-0 win against Liverpool Hope in the BUCS league in a closely fought contest. Play was stagnant at times in the middle of the pitch; many potential breaks and chances for the Lancaster side were prevented by last gasp defending from Liverpool. The full time whistle was a relief after a conversion by Louisa Abbot put the side ahead 15 minutes from time.
Both games were closely fought, but the grit and determination paid off to put Lancaster’s girls through to the next round to play either Salford or Bangor, sending the team to the top of the BUCS Northern Conference 2A league.
In Lent term, the BUCS league continues with a match scheduled away on January 26th against Manchester Metropolitan, a match that is sure to be hotly contested as this is the same side that put Lancaster out of the BUCS cup last year in a fierce game that finished 27-26 to Manchester.
The BUCS cup quarter finals are scheduled for February, with Lancaster set to face either Salford or Bangor – a victory here would potentially set up a pre-Roses showdown in the semi finals against York, depending on results.
Roses is fast approaching and the Women’s Rugby team will undoubtedly be working hard to ensure that their 2011 squad is the best it can possibly be. Last year, both the sevens and 15s games were fiercely fought. A serious injury requiring an air ambulance put an early end to the 15s game, but the draw allowed Lancaster to take away two points to add to their one point from the sevens to add to the Lancaster tally.
After last year’s home draws to York, this year will undoubtedly be a contest to prove which side has improved enough to take away the full set of points. There will be no one going into Roses with the hopes of another stalemate. This feeling is carried by the team, with Hooker Tania Nadarajah telling SCAN: “I’ll do my best to not cause an air ambulance incident this year, but in all seriousness, we are going to take it to York and come back with the victory and the full set of points in hand.”
There is still a lot to play for before Roses, but the Women’s Rugby Union is certainly a side to keep your eye on. As captain Robyn Smyth puts it: “The success of the first half of the season is a brilliant achievement that every member of the team can be proud of. The next step in 2011 is to ensure the hard work continues and hopefully good results will follow in the big matches and second leg of the cup coming up, not to mention Roses.’’