THE girls of Market Harborough RFC’s Vixens section welcomed Italian tour side Rugby Forli 1979 for a sevens format round robin event. It was the first time the local group had acted as hosts in this way.
The large Vixens squad was divided into Blue and Red sides to play quality opposition.
Despite the atrocious conditions, players handled the ball well, with only the odd ball being spilt as the Blues took on their Italian counterparts.
The Italian side looked very good and soon powered through a surprised home defence. A second try from the visitors soon followed before a dazzling solo effort from Chloe Andrews gave the hosts some self-belief.
A second Vixens try soon followed to level the scores, with the loose ball being picked up by Anna Chadburn and with a strong drive to the line skidded in from three metres.
Down came the rain but ball skills remained high and few mistakes from either team meant each side had to work hard for their next scores.
The weather suited the Italians as their big forwards started to take control and their uncompromising aggression at the breakdown soon showed, with Vixens coughing the ball up too easily.
The visitors soon added three more tries, using their forwards to great effect. Vixens changed strategy and started putting width on their game and soon scored a fine team try with Katie James going over in the corner, soon followed by scores from Harley Andrews and Elli Batten.
The weather was taking its toll and the ground was slippery underfoot, which led to an easy try to the Italians. With a minute to go Vixens were pressurising the Italian line but the final pass was intercepted and the visiting captain ran the length of the pitch to score and complete a 35-25 win.
Vixens’ team was Hannah Mance, Chloe Andrews, Harley Andrews, Charlotte Farnsworth, Anna Chadburn, Elli Batten, Megan Porter, Katie James, Libby Turner, Elli Godding, Chloe Tyler, Rose Smith.
Play was temporarily stopped due to the torrential rain but eventually the second game was under way.
The second game reflected the first with the Italians savouring the English weather and showing just how to play in the wet with strong powerful close quarter tactics.
It wasn’t long before the Vixens Red team defence leaked two soft tries but once they had adapted to the difficult conditions they were soon on the attack themselves, passing the ball through the backs for Elli Randon to touch down in the corner.
Sloppy tackling then let in the Italians shortly before half-time to establish a 15-5 lead at the break.
The pitch now took on the appearance of a swimming pool but the quality of the rugby remained, which astounded the large crowd.
The Italians restarted with a grubber kick, which Vixens failed to gather, allowing the tourists to secure the ball and they used their backs to score again.
Vixens continually struggled to cope with the Italian grubber kicks through the water and mud and two further tries were scored as the visiting forwards dominated the breakdown, allowing their backs to score.
Finally Vixens gathered a restart and drove strongly through the defence with several offloads and a good run by Georgina Watson, allowing Tabitha Copson to score in the corner.
The last five minutes saw scores at either end, the Italians with two well- worked tries and Vixens having the last say as a strong drive down the left saw Elli Randon go over to complete a hard match in terrible conditions. The final score was 40-15
Strong performances came from Hema Trivedi, Georgina Watson, Tabitha Copson and Elli Randon.
The Vixens Reds team was: Georgina Watson, Tabitha Copson, Rhianna Ashworth, Jules Leah, Kiki Leah, Leah Bartlett, Katie Lowther, Elli Randon, Molly Brooks, Hema Trivedi, Katie Spargo.
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Weather for Market Harborough
Tuesday 21 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 4 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: North west