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Kesteven Ladies close their first season with a victory

Kesteven Ladies 17

Sleaford Ladies 7

The Black Army with their coaches. (32389085)
The Black Army with their coaches. (32389085)

Kesteven Ladies finished their first league season with a well-deserved victory against local rivals last Sunday.

Having played Sleaford in their very first game only last season, the Black Army Ladies were anxious to demonstrate how far they had progressed in the last 18 months.

Sleaford started the match very strongly with their big forwards picking up the ball from the base of the rucks and testing the Kesteven defence with huge runs.

Happily for the home side their tackling was equally strong and the opening few minutes saw both sides
make ground with ball in hand.

Kesteven grew in confidence as the half progressed. Scrum half Kerri Arlando tirelessly provided ball for the home side’s backs to take advantage of the open spaces, with Megan Alderton and Tilly Hall being particularly prevalent in attack.

As Kesteven’s momentum grew, gaps started to appear in the Sleaford defence. Millie Warren latched on to a fine pass to streak clear of the covering tacklers for the opening score just before half time.

With a full squad of 22 players, Kesteven Ladies were able to rotate their team and started the second half in control as the Sleaford forwards began to fatigue.

Beth Toone and Nellie Davies carried hard in attack to draw in the Sleaford defenders. Great hands from the backs gave winger Hannah Dolby just enough space to speed over the line to score under the posts. Beckie Thirtle put the conversion beyond doubt to extend Kesteven’s lead to 12-0.

Sleaford, however, were not for lying down. They found the energy to wrestle themselves back into the match. Their scrum half took advantage of a misheard instruction from the referee and took speed untouched from the halfway line, only narrowly avoiding a despairing lunge from Tamzin Keenlyside to prevent the score.

As the final minutes counted down, the 200 spectators held their breath as the two sides continued to play with every ounce of effort that their exhausted bodies could muster.

Kesteven finished the stronger with wave after wave of attacks from a series of penalties, all the time trying to avoid a stray intercepted pass, which could have
given Sleaford a winning score.

In the last play of the game, with no space available, scrum half Kerri Arlando decided to make some space for herself and barged over the line to bring the score to 17-7 and a well-deserved win to bring the Ladies League season to a close.

Huge credit goes to all the players and a big thank you to the supporters at Kesteven who have carried the team throughout the first league campaign.

Squad: Megan Alderton, Kerri Arlando, Emma Austen, Cheryl Carl, Nellie Davies, Hannah Dolby, Emma Gooden, Tilly Hall, Ruth Holmes, Vicki Hunt, Gwen James, Tamzin Keenlyside, Zoe Osborn,
Jade Sheardown, Stacey Spafford, Jessica Taylor, Beckie Thirtle, Beth Toone, Molly Walker, Millie Warren, Ceri Wright.

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