We ended our 2016/17 Season with a bit of a weird feeling. Knowing that our 1st XV had secured a league win in their final match but not knowing if this was enough to secure promotion to the league above – having had to apply to the RFU after the new changes to the premiership. This was the fourth time in five years we had won the league but have always fallen short to our nemesis (the play off) usually to a penalty in extra time. Having had a couple of early losses in the season, the 1s had ended up playing knockout rugby until the final match. We knew we had done all we could and our fate was now in the lap of the gods. Our Mighty 2s had had a mixed season, occasionally losing players to the 1s squad but had finished with some really strong wins and we saw some newer players really developing their game.
On the 19th May we headed to West Norfolk RFC (maybe not as glamorous as a foreign trip but it was a sunny weekend with a roaring atmosphere) on tour with a squad containing a mix of both teams. This was an all women 10s tournament and a beer festival. What was nice was the level of support the women and girls teams seemed to get from their club with a good turnout of supporters (men and women). Am sure the beer festival helped too.
Day 1 – 20th May – Group stages
Game 1: Club 27-17 Peterborough. We started off with a rusty game where we worked out how to play 10s
Game 2: Club 15-15 Medway. This was a bit of a scrappy game with our local rivals. No hard feelings afterwards as we cheered each other on in subsequent games but not the beautiful exhibition of women’s rugby we wanted to display in such a glorious festival.
Game 3: High Wycombe 0-21 Club. Back on track with this game and starting to put some good pieces of play together.
Game 4: Club 30-0 Sleaford. This was a fun game against probably the most social team in the tournament (dressed as ninja turtles)
Game 5: West Norfolk 12-10 Club. A tight match with the hosts worthy of a final. In the dying seconds West Norfolk score a converted try.
To have a chance of winning the tournament we would have to play a play off (our nemesis). Brilliant.
The Play Off: Club 12-7 Coalville. Yay, we beat our nemesis in what was a tight game but it felt like we were in control of it.
The Semi-Final: West Norfolk 0-14 Club. In a rematch from the day before, despite a lax attitude to warming up, Club put in a strong performance in front of a huge crowd to knock the hosts out. We are pretty exhausted having had to play an extra game.
The Final: Club 29-7 Kennilworth. We only went and won it! Having decided not to bother warming up to conserve energy in the heat, it should be noted that we have played two extra games to the other finalist as they were in a smaller group on day 1. A really strong performance by club. Apparently 10s is our game now, and there may have been a few nerves from defending champions Kennilworth. A great end to a lovely tournament.
We got home exhausted but jubilant from a satisfying weekend.
On the 23rd May we received confirmation that our 1s have been promoted into Championship South 1. The hard work starts here…