On a beautiful day for rugby, with the promised rainclouds far away, the two Northern teams in the Tyrells Premier 15s faced each other at the Northern Echo Arena in the much anticipated “Battle of the North”
It was the hosts who started the stronger – maybe the visitors were still feeling the effects of the long journey and early start – with DMP more physical in the early periods; running harder and being more aggressive at the breakdown. On the quarter hour, the hosts went ahead with two quick tries scored by Taylor and Ekoku, neither conversion was made.
From the restart, Firwood Waterloo set up a platform off a scrum in their own 22. With their first real attack of the game, they ran a well-worked move and the pitch opened up for Carys Hall who sprinted 75m to score. The Try was converted by Bethan Davies.
Waterloo then went through a period of not respecting the ball and DMP forwards started to dominate in the lineout with catch and drives. Kerr scored an unconverted Try for the home side before a great intercept Try from Waterloo Fly Half Bethan Davies, who went on to convert.
DMP got on top and a Brown Try and Blacklock conversion saw them head in 22-14 at the break.
Half Time 22-14
Firwood Waterloo started slowly in the second half, with poor decision making and handling. Within minutes, the hosts had a converted Try with Ekoku picking up her second of the day.
The Merseyside outfit hit straight back with a well worked try finished off by Frere.
At this point, Waterloo were pushing to score that all important fourth Try and made some unforced errors whilst trying to force the play. The errors cost them and Tries from Shams and McMcCallion saw the score push to 41-19 and the game now felt out of reach of the visitiors.
Still searching for that 4th try Waterloo won a scrum and influential Number 8, Beth Stafford picked up from the base and crossed the line with ease, securing Waterloo’s first point of the season.
There was still time for North Eastern speedster Igz Ekoku to cross the whitewash for her hat trick on the final play of the game.
Full Time 48-26
After the match, Firwood Waterloo Director of Rugby Neil Ryan said “On reflection the story of the game is what could have been. If we could have been more patient and played the phases we would have had more success. Despite the loss, there are lots of positives to take from the game and things to work on at training. We’re looking forward to next weeks challenge of Bristol Bears back at The Memorial Ground.”