Lancaster women dispatch local rivals

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Lancaster 41 – UCUM 10

Lancaster Women’s rugby extended their lead at the top of the BUCS Northern 3A with a thumping 41-10 victory over local rivals, University of Cumbria. This local derby has always been a heated affair, with Cumbria usually travelling with a small but vocal group of support. With the conditions warm and dry, it was always going to be a day for running rugby.
The first half saw Lancaster establish early dominance, with forays into Cumbria’s half stemming from strong running from the forwards and steady hands along the backline. Cumbria appeared to struggle coping with the onrush, and it was not long before Lancaster’s first score of the game.
As the game continued, Lancaster’s dominance became even more apparent, with the pack dominating at the set piece and break down, providing the ideal foundation for the backs to deliver some fantastic moves. A single Cumbria try in the first half was all that the visitors could take going into the break, whilst the Lancaster girls had run in four, two of which came from electric winger, Claire Chiu.
As the second half progressed, it became apparent the Cumbria were beginning to get frustrated, with continuous infringements at the breakdown, and a complete display of indiscipline that Lancaster were quick to capitalise on. Substitutions were made, with Liz Ashworth coming into the fray at flanker. Captain Catriona Hay, playing at Number Eight, crashed over for her first try of the game not long after. Breaking up field, Lancaster set up camp in Cumbria’s 22, and as the ball was shipped wide, Hay backed herself well, capitalizing on a gap in the drifting defensive line, and taking the five points.
Amongst the general rivalry of the two sides, individual grievances began to come to light, as Cumbria’s discipline continued to deteriorate. Winger Chiu in particular seemed to be developing a rather unfriendly relationship with the opposition Number Eight, after a heated clash in mid-field. Rugby matches are full of these little personal battles. One of the most famous examples was the clash between England fullback Josh Lewsey and Australian fullback Matt Rogers. As Rogers continued to wind up Lewsey, with continuous little slaps and scraps off the ball, Lewsey answered during open play by delivering a thumping tackle on the Australian, breaking his ribs and forcing his opposite number off the pitch. Chiu might not be related to Lewsey, but she certainly took a leaf out of his book. In a scrappy piece of play, Cumbria’s Number Eight was floored by a scintillating hit from one of the Lancaster forwards, the ball was spilled, and Chiu raced away down the wing. Wingers are often told that the touchline is their enemy, and to avoid it at all costs. Not so with Chiu, who instead of cutting back in field, decided to flirt dangerously with the whitewash. It was a move that not only paid off, but which left Cumbria backs flailing in the dirt as Chiu scampered over for her hat trick of tries. Her personal vendetta against Cumbria’s Number Eight was also ended, as her rival was substituted off with an injury sustained in the build-up to Chiu’s try.
The game ended 41-10 to Lancaster, in a display which goes further to justifying their place at the top of the table, with four wins from four matches. Not only that, but they now stand with a phenomenal +162 points difference. Captain Hay was full of praise for the team; “I could not be more proud of the girls. We played as a team and that was shown by how many different players scored tires and kick conversions. As the season draws to a close over the next couple weeks, we’re hoping that we can extend our lead at the top of the league and go for promotion.”

1. Lizzie Tanam
2. Bry Rowe
3. Laura Smith
4. Lucy Duffy
5. Rebecca Le Blond
6. Nicole Wurfbain
7. Lexi Bush
8. Catriona Hay
9. Abie Epstein
10. Charlotte Neal
11. Claire Chiu
12. Liva Servan
13. Rhiannon Metcalfe
14. Phili McCormick
15. Jen Lappin

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