On the 9th January 2016 The British Police Ladies took to the field to face a sea of white shirts sporting the familiar red rose. This was the first 15’s game for the Police side and the squad was selected by coaches John Foster and Claire Purdy after seeing the girls train and play during the trials back in September 2015.
It was touch and go that the game would go ahead due to the rain flooding to the pitch and nearby areas, however, rain held off the night before and that morning so with some persuasion of the groundsman we were good to go.
Unforeseen circumstances lead to the referee not showing up, luckily Police Chairman DCC Mathew Horne, who had come along to support his players, stepped in to save the day and referee the game! Mr Horne is an experienced ref and without him the game would not have gone ahead – not exactly the Saturday afternoon he was expecting but we hope he enjoyed being part of the action!
The game was kicked off by #10 Caz Goodman, bouncing off the foot of one of the England players. Shortly afterwards Police #12 Lesley Wheatley made a strong striding break deep into the England defence. With some excellent offloads and great footwork by the forwards, #8 Captain Beth Hawke took the ball over the white line to put the Police ahead. With a successful conversion by Goodman, the Police took a 7-0 lead.
Play continued with England putting up a good defence battle midground, but after 10 mins #15 Kiri Lose placed the ball over the whitewash to extend the lead by 12-0.
Both teams showed their strength, with some super rucking and counter rucking, the forwards putting up some strong and well drilled moves, however a mistake by England just outside the 22 gave the Police an opportunity to kick for a penalty goal. Goodman took a strong kick but it landed on the crossbar letting England off on this occasion. With a quick line out taken by substitute Eryka Wessell the forwards inched their way to the line. Not hearing #10 Goodman’s screams for the ball the forwards pressed on but lost possession inches before the try line.
Some superb lines run by #12 Lesley Wheatley finally paid off with a break towards the try line resulting in a try in the corner taking the score to 17-0.
England had yet another break down the wing when #15 Lose AGAIN made a try saving tackle, stopping England’s chances to put points on the board. The lineout taken by the Police and play continued with the Police forwards, rolling on towards the try line. Captain #8 Beth Hawke made a lovely break to the try line fighting off a defender before scoring her second try of the game. 22-0
There followed a break in play for an injury to Sam Baring which was unfortunately the last of her great performance on the pitch. On restart the Police had to defend in their own 22, when #3 Fez Hibberd made the hardest tackle of the game, taking down one of the England players.
Both sides showed what strength they have in the scrums, which kept coming, and the England scrum half constantly putting the Police #9 Izzy Smith under pressure. Some fantastic pick and goes at the rucks from #4 Carly Walker and Lizzie Ballentine continued to disrupt the England defence.
The Police backs showed off their moves with #10 Goodman dummy switching with #12 Wheatley, to pass to manager #22 Clare Brown, swiftly passing the ball out to #14 Shannon Little who made it over the try line but was tackled and had to do a backwards roll to score the try, taking the Police score to 27-0.
England restarted with a grubber kick straight into the hands of the Police #9 Smith. Play continued up field and the Police gained a penalty which #9 Smith took quickly, offloaded just before the line to Wessell who scored under the posts for another 5 points. #9 Smith took the conversion which brought the score to 34-0.
England kicked off again and managed to run the Police into touch. However, the Police stole the ball at the line out and after a break by #22 Brown the ball was kicked downfield towards the Police try line. #14 Little hung on to the ball as she ran cross field and scored the final try of the game under the posts, for #9 Smith to convert.
Final score 41-0 to the British Police.
Match report courtesy of Clare Brown, Manager British Police