WOMENS RUGBY: STANFORD’s Sirens managed a decent draw against Kilburn Cosmos on a mudbath of a pitch.

The result sees the two teams remain neck and neck in the league. The last time these two sides clashed they shared the points at The Rec.

But this time it was an away from home encounter for the Sirens and it proved to be a war of attrition at Kilburn’s soggy London ground. Things started well for the Sirens with Nikki Heald – back after two seasons out – took the high ball on the kick off and broke a tackle with her first play. Sirens physicality was on display throughout the match with big hits coming from Walshe, Patience and Ward as they kept the Kilburn attacks at bay. The front three took several scrums against the head in the bog-like conditions.

Hooker Bowden’s skills were an advantage for the visitors. And several times fly-half Moore tried to clear the line either by force or kicking. Eventually Kilburn scored a drive over try after 20 minutes of the encounter. But Stanford were determined to get the points back.

They piled on the pressure. Genevieve Beard – another Siren back from a long injury break and Rumble hunted the ball down and forced turnovers. The pack drove strong down the pitch into Kilburn territory.

And then a massive Stanford effort pushed over the line – only for the referee to decide that the ball had been held up. After half time Moore tried to unleash the running of Witham, Wells and O’Rourke.

Gradually, Stanford ventured into the home side’s 22. Stanford’s superiority at the break down showed as they made considerable progress. Several pick and goes from the pack breached the defence enough for an infringement. And Beard ran first to make yards, then Richardson to get nearer. Without hesitation, Crowhurst – in her trademark style – found a gap and slotted over to even the score.

The remainder of the game was played near enough on the Sirens’ try line. But somehow Stanford held Kilburn at bay with a great deal of defence work.