19 May 2018 / Club News

Taff’s Well Women Fall Short 26-14 in SWALEC Bowl Final Defeat

Today’s game was the culmination of three year’s sweat and tears from which was originally a one-off idea by Teri Knight for a charity game against Beddau. Who would have thought that three years later, all roads would lead to Bedwas to watch a side which has been maturing by the game, take on Deri Diamonds in the final of the SWALEC Bowl.

Early Pressure

The game kicked off in glorious sunshine with the girls roared on by a superb throng of travelling support and early indications were that the women of Taff’s Well were not here to make up the numbers as they applied all the early pressure. Deri were forced to defend from a clever Kayleigh Cushing chip but they did well to ride out the early pressure and Taff’s Well were to suffer a huge blow as influential centre Georgia Teuma was forced from the field after carrying an injury into the game.

First Blow to Deri

Taff’s Well were to rue their early missed attacking opportunities as Deri spun the ball wide for electric paced wing Harrie Clemens to go over and get the scoreboard ticking with the extras added by outside-half Paige Randall. Deri were spurred on having drawn blood and there were some strong runs from the pack which was met by some determined defence led by skipper Shirey Webley. The set-pieces were solid and prop Ruth Wilding was enjoying her day in the sun with some barnstorming charges up the middle and hooker Kayleigh Cushion was showing her class at the breakdowns.

Double Strike

The game was anyone’s to win but Deri outside-half Randall was having a fine day pulling the strings behind and the Taff’s Well defence was struggling with the accuracy of her kick & chases especially when she brought winger Clemens into the game and it was the latter who again did the damage as the ball went wide for her to skip in for converted try number two and a half-time score of 14-0 but Taff’s Well were well and truly in it.

Half-time Score: Taff’s Well 0 v 14 Deri

Second Half

Taff’s Well needed a score and only more fantastic defence denied Deri the opportunity to stretch the score further. As the coaches made their changes from the bench, the introduction of Blaina acquisition Jade Cooper was to make a telling impression as she teed-up standout wing Ceri Tucker to set off on a mazy run which forced the Deri defence to concede a penalty. From the ensuing lineout, the Taff’s Well pack drove relentlessly towards the whitewash for prop Ruth Wilding to pile over and reduce the deficit to seven points thanks to the Cooper conversion.

Joy Short-Lived

Before you barely had a moment to celebrate, Randall was at it again with a finely-judged kick which was poorly defended and resulted in a quickly taken tap-penalty for flanker Kate Davies to touch down. These girls are made of stern stuff and if Deri thought they had broken the Taff’s Well spirit, they were mistaken as another powerful drive from the pack saw Captain Webley dive over to bring the score to within five points in a titanic tussle which was enthralling the large crowd.

Nail in the Coffin

The difference between the two sides was again the control shown by Deri outside-half Randall and her kicks to Clemens were causing havoc and it was the latter who was to seal the game as the ball again found for her to scorch in for a hat-rick of tries and a 26-14 lead which was to prove decisive. The spirit of the Taff’s Well girls never dipped once and the game almost went into another direction as flying winger Tucker broke up the middle for a 40m sprint to the posts but she was impressively hauled down on the line and the ball was lost forward.

Tackling to the End

As Deri looked to put the icing on the cake, they set up an attack which ferociously battered the Taff’s Well line and to all intents and purposes – a certain try, but the fortitude was amazing as time and time again, the girls in black and white threw themselves at the wave of attacks to protect their line with Bonnie Heath a standout in defence. With Deri on top at the death, the whistle was blown and a Taff’s Well side which had given everything to the cause had to watch a jubilant Deri side take the honours in a game which was a credit to women’s rugby.

Final Score: Taff’s Well 14 v 26 Deri

The Verdict

First of all, let’s congratulate Deri for a win they deserved in a match that could have gone either way but for the bounce of the ball and an influential contribution by Harrie Clemens and Paige Randal, a deadly duo which Taff’s Well struggled to deal with in telling moments - but what a shift by the Taff’s Well girls. Deri had been thrashing their opponents for most of the season by some huge margins but the Taff’s Well pack stood tall and edged the honours up front with a sound set-piece display.

You can only ask two things of any player who plays in a final and they are: Don’t freeze and don’t leave anything on the field in the way of regrets – Taff’s Well did neither and this was not a defeat, it was another step in the evolution of side which could barely catch a ball three years ago. The desire to fight back after going behind all match was impressive and with a bit more experience, this side will continue to improve. Yes, there were tears (probably from most of the men present) but the hard-learned lessons don’t come easily and most male players will tell you that throughout their careers, they didn’t come anywhere near a final.

There were exceptional performances all over the field and it would take an even more exceptional one to stand out. Not sure who the girls gave the ‘Man-of-the-Match’ to but my choice is Ceri Tucker who not only tackled and fought at the breakdown, her pace on the wing caused problems for the Deri defence all afternoon. All in all, a superb effort from everyone involved and so much to build on for next season.

Yep, another great day during another great season for Taff’s Well Rugby Club and long may they continue. May be a bit of a knees-up in the clubhouse later, I think the men are safer on tour…

Dave Beese  mail

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