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Tough start for borough team
9:00pm Friday 21st September 2012 in Sport
WOMENS RUGBY: For a short time Thurrock Ladies – the T-Birds – were in the lead of a Premiership rugby match, but ultimately a Lichfield side who finished third last season denied T-Birds a losing bonus point with a last minute try.
Following the heavy defeat to Wasps the T-Birds started brightly in front of their home crowd.
The home forwards pushed hard in the early minutes.
And they got the breakthrough when Emily Scott chipping through and India Harvey chased well to collect the loose ball and score, putting T-Birds ahead.
But the visitors hit back when Lichfield unleashed their backs. Lichfield manufactured an overlap to strand the Full Back and put England star Emily Scarratt through under the posts to make it 5-7.
Lichfield put together a long period of pressure and only a combination of T’s ferocious tackling and their mistakes prevented Lichfield from running away with the game. T’s Irish star Louise Austin left the field with a shoulder injury and was replaced by Charlotte Boulton.
Lichfield attacked again and a runner split the T’s defence and a simple overlap put England back row, Heather Mills over the line in the corner despite a despairing double tackle from Kat Emerson and Dannie Harris.
The score was 5-12 at the break.
After the restart both sides put together good periods of attack, but with 10 minutes gone turnover ball in their own half set Mills away again. Slipping through a defensive gap on her own 10 m line, she beat the full back to score under the posts and put the game beyond real doubt at 5-17.
T-Birdss were denied the ball by fine Lichfield play.
But they defended well for a long period until turnover ball allowed Rachel Burford to make a break up the right wing. And despite a strong tackle she got the ball away to Dannie Harris who was running in close support. She took both the ball and tackler over the line to give the Thurrock team hope at 10-17.
For the next 10 minutes with good play from both sides Ts looked most likely to score, but then didn’t touch the ball as Lichfield put together a purple patch five minutes from the end. And Emily Scarratt, put the game completely beyond doubt, splitting the defence and running in almost unopposed. The talented player also burst down the outside to offload in the tackle to Dowsett whose score denied the Thurrock team a losing bonus point.
In the final minutes the T-Birds were playing for pride. And they spent the last few minutes of the match camped on the Lichfield line - but to no avail. T-Birds’ players of the match were Forward stalwart Jo Convoy and England’s outside Centre Rachael Burford.
On Sunday the T-Birds travel to Darlington in what is starting to look like a “must win” match. T’s next home game at Oakfield against Worcester on October 7.