Warriors on song against the Sirens
PUBLISHED: 15:38 16 January 2008 | UPDATED: 21:39 26 October 2009
WELWYN Warriors Under-18s kept their title hopes alive on Sunday with a 40-15 victory over Solent Sirens. Still plagued by injuries, Warriors had to win the match as Sirens arrived at Hobbs Way unbeaten, having already claimed the scalp of pre-season favo
WELWYN Warriors Under-18s kept their title hopes alive on Sunday with a 40-15 victory over Solent Sirens.
Still plagued by injuries, Warriors had to win the match as Sirens arrived at Hobbs Way unbeaten, having already claimed the scalp of pre-season favourites Wimborne. Defeat would have meant Warriors looking at the runners-up spot at best.
However, the Welwyn girls climbed top of the London & Surrey Premier table after beating their opponents with a magnificent performance.
Team manager Dave Marques was delighted at the result and pulling clear at the top, but is aware there are plenty of challenges still to come before the destination of the title is decided.
He said: "We still face Wimborne and Esher at home and have trips to Worthing, Mitcham and Dorking. Our fate is in our own hands.
"This season we have already beaten Dorking and Wimborne but be in no doubt, they know that on the day they under-
performed and they will both be out for revenge. We haven't won anything yet."
Warriors were inspired by Alex Robertson on Sunday.
She played her best ever game for Warriors and three solo tries in the first half hour, all converted, saw Welwyn build up a comfortable lead.
The Sirens, however, were no pushovers and kept the Warriors defence at full stretch.
Frankie Dawson and Hannah Marques, in particular, put in big tackles.
Welwyn's injury hoodoo struck again late in the half when pivotal player Sophie Tyler was carried off with a serious knee injury and sportingly, Sirens lent Warriors players to make up the shortfall.
The half-time team talk inspired Sirens and Solent pressure eventually told and an unconverted try made it 21-5 early in the second half. Warriors now faced a red and white tide as Sirens battered away, camping in the Welwyn half.
The Welwyn team held firm and from a quick penalty skipper Hannah Gallagher outwitted the Sirens defence and set up Robertson for her fourth try of the day to make it 28-5.
The momentum now swung back to Welwyn and the pressure was all maroon and blue.
Warriors thought they had scored a fifth try but it was ruled held up.
From the resulting five metre scrum huge forward play did see scrum-half Casey Shults score.
A solo try for skipper Gallagher made it 40-10 and a late surge by Sirens saw them reply with a well-deserved touchdown to make the final score 40-15.
It was an emotional day for Welwyn player Emily Matuszczyk.
It was almost three years to the day of the anniversary of the untimely death of her father Bob. Emily dedicated her performance to her late father.
New Warriors head coach Clive Cramphorn was proud of her.
He said: "Em was a bit emotional but went out to play the match for her dad and I can't recall seeing her play that well.
"Total commitment and effort, she was a star!"
Assistant coach Gallagher feels Warriors are now playing their best rugby.
"What we saw at Wimborne before Christmas and here today tell me this team is now really in the groove," he said.
"Tries scored are through good teamwork, providing the space and opportunity for our girls to score from anywhere.
"Ema Burgess, Geri Thomas, Hannah Smith, Marquesy and Frankie give us a great forward pack.
"Tia Arberry and Charlie Simms on the wings give us options across the field and with Megan Williams back from South Africa, we're pretty much at full strength.
"The rest of the season will be very interesting.