Wasps 17 v 49 Preston Grashoppers Ladies
By Mark Hodgkiss
The Wasps came up against a Hoppers team with a number of good runners in their back division, who regularly opened up the Wasps defence.
Hoppers dominated most of the early play and finally opened the scoring, just before the quarter of an hour with a try, after some weak tackling 0v5.
On one of their first visits to the Hoppers half the Wasps were almost immediately back on level terms after Amy Butler successfully spoiled their lineout ball, and with a fortunate bounce, Amy Orrow managed to get the ball down from short range. Score 5v5.
The Hoppers dominated the rest of the half, running in four more tries, one of which was converted for 5v27 half time lead. The Wasps were good in patches of this half, particularly the breakdown area but as soon as the ball moved wider, gaps appeared and missed tackles were made, allowing the Hoppers easy metres to score their trys.
The Wasps opened the second half much better, despite having to reshuffle the positions due to injury to the regular 9, Cath Sewell and a lost contact lense from Fleur Stanton who was standing in at 9. Amy Orrow stepped into scrum half for a short period, and off the base of a breakdown beat one player rushing up and offloaded the ball “Sonny Bill” style to an oncoming Laura Mason. She broke the first tackle, and handed off the second, and still with 30m to the tryline, pinned her ears back and kept going. The nearest defender only just caught up with her as she was diving over the line to score her first try of the season.
The half was much more evenly balanced, with great carries from Sarah Muncaster, Lindsey Benzie and Susie Winter to name just a few, but the Hoppers added a further two tries, one converted for a 10v39 lead, before the Wasps added a third try from Hayley Hodgson, who had been well marshalled by Hoppers defence whenever she had the ball. Fleur Stanton made a great flat pass to put Hayley In Space to then run round the last defender and get the ball down. Tamar Benson added the conversion 17v39.
The Hoppers finished the stronger adding two late tries for a 17v49 win.
The Hoppers looked a good side with some strong runners especially in their back division, despite the good efforts of the press by a few Wasps. It just wasn’t followed through by the rest of the team, but that’s something that can be rectified with a little work in training. The Wasps pack played well, especially in the second half with some good ball handling and powerful running, but oppotunities were often lost with rushed passes. The back division was given little space to work in by a well organised Hoppers defence.
An away game at Carlisle next weekend.