Wasps 39 v 22 Vagabonds
By Mark Hodgkiss
Another excellent Winning Performance
Often Wasps victories have been based on an excellent defensive display, with the points coming from a small group of regulars. Whilst the points may have come from the same names, (at least two from being in the right place at the right time, which is a skill itself) there were signs here of more players looking happy with the ball in hand to make ground, whilst the passing and back-up play was much sharper.
The Wasps started well, from a line out No 1 Laura Mason, broke away on the first of a number of good runs in the game. Whilst she was finally taken to touch just before trying to offload the ball to an oncoming Amy Orrow, the Vagabonds throw was not straight and from the resulting scrum, the ball was moved across field, and when it came to Hayley Hodgson, as the defence drifted across to defend the players outside her, she instead cut inside to score. 5v0.
The Vagabonds came more into the game, and the Wasps were getting on the wrong side of the referee, conceding a number of penalties, when it looked as if they could clear their lines.
Finally the Vagabonds No.6, who was involved in many of their best moves, went over for a try, which their fullback converted to give her team the lead. 5v7
The lead did not last long. Good pressure from restart, forced a knock on. The Wasps were struggling in the scrum, often being driven off their own ball, but this time they made no mistake, with No.8 Amy Orrow picking up and twisting over to touchdown. 10v7.
The Wasps soon extended the lead. From a lineout after good work in midfield, the ball came to Hayley Hodgson, who again finished the move. 15v7.
After twenty five minutes the Wasps lost Amy Orrow to an injury and substitute Kelis Evans was brought on to fill in the back row.
The Wasps fourth try came just before the end of normal time in the first half. After a good run by fullback Rowan Boardley, Hayley Hodgson added a further try, this time it needed more work, breaking a number of tackles down the right wing. 20v7
One of the impressive things in the half was some of the Wasps tactical kicking by Lauren Harkness using the strong crosswind to pin their opponents back. In injury time a kick was chased well, forcing the Vagabonds fullback into a clearance kick, which went to Hayley Hodgson, who given plenty of space made no mistake scoring under the posts, with outside half Lauren Harkness adding the conversion, for a 27v7 half time lead.
Despite the big lead, the Vagbonds would have the wind behind them in the second half. They quickly closed the gap with an early try from short range. 27v12
After twenty minutes, the Wasps were reduced to fourteen players, when after a number of penalties for high tackles, flanker Sarah Wilkinson was yellow carded for being adjudged to have committed the latest.
This seemed to inspire the Wasps, a loose ball was collected by Amy Orrow inside their own half on the left wing and made a 30m run breaking several tackles before finally being brought to ground in an Incomplete tackle. Samara Tomlinson was in full flight as a support runner who received the pop off the floor from Amy Orrow and made good ground also. The ruck was cleared and Cath Sewell swung the play back to the right to release the backs. Some great handling saw Hayley Hodgson make her bid for the line but was stopped short. Outside half Lauren Harkness was in support and took the ball on for a good try. 32v12.
The Vagabonds pulled a try back from short range 32v17.
On her return to the field, after her enforced rest on the touchlines, Sarah Wilkinson made an almost immediate impact. The Vagabonds won ball at a scrum, but she pulled off a crunching tackle, and was quickly back on her feet to secure a loose ball on the floor and got the ball to Hayley Hodgson, who was up quickly in support, to go over from short range. Outside half Lauren Harkness added the conversion 39v17.
The final score came from the Vagabonds from a passing move. 39v22.
The Wasps are next in action again at Mintbridge on Sunday 14th October (kick off to be confirmed) - Check the website for more details nearer the day.