21 December 2016 / Club News

North Wales Lady Rugby Stars feature predominantly in Regional Championship deciders.

Scarlet Ladies 17.  Osprey Ladies  12.


This year's Regional Championship decider had the hallmarks of a cracking encounter and what materialised over the eighty minutes did most certainly not disappoint as regards entertainment and excitement. It was pleasing to see at least seven with North Wales connections listed on the various team sheets with the bulk plying their trade with notoriety for the Scarlets.

At the end it was the Scarlets who were joyous in triumph but mightily relieved and thankful that their defence had held firm in face of a torrent of Osprey attacks  during the final quarter.

Few on the park had the artistry of Scarlet centre Elen Evans, (Caernarfon) who's quick feet and blistering pace from a stationary position was the first to find a chink in the Osprey armour. Her thirty metre break and further Scarlet pressure resulted in the first penalty attempt  at goal but Jodie Evans's effort drifted wide.

Soon however she was on the mark to open the scoring following a preventing release call.

A Caryl Thomas, Delyth Davies and Jodie Evans combined charge drew the Scarlet crowd's approval as possession was Scarlet dominated during the first quarter and Sioned Harries's release of winger Angharad de Smet had the makings of a certain try until the timely and shuddering intervention of Osprey full back Rosie Fletcher.

This spurred a change of fortune for the Ospreys as their bigger pack began to get to grips with their opponents with a series of lineout drives and charges gaining valuable metres. When it looked as if a reply was on the cards a brave intervention by Lowri Harries came to the Scarlets aid but sadly she was injured in the process. Her replacement Morfydd Ifans (ex Caernarfon) slotted in admirably to face Cara Hope another (ex Caernarfon) in the Ospreys front row.

The fast and furious pace and parity was maintained for much of the following fifteen minutes before another straightening of the line run by Elen Evans  created enough space out wide for the quick ball that ensued to find the hands of fullback Jess Kavanagh Williams (Caernarfon) who's timed run outfoxed the cover and resulted in a grounding out wide. Jodie Evans added the conversion with aplomb.

The Ospreys reacted from the restart with numerous forwards  such as Shona Powell Hughes, Siwan Lillicrap, Amy Thomas and Amy Evans forceful with ball in hand. Robyn Wilkins at stand off also gained good distances when putting boot purposefully to ball.

As half time approached the Ospreys became camped in the Scarlet red zone and with lineout drives and peels working well they were able to tie in enough defenders to emulate the earlier Scarlet try as on this occasion Rosie Fletcher entered the line to power over. Wilkins's conversion attempt sadly came back off the upright. There was time for one other Osprey try line charge but second row Ffion Jones came to the Scarlets rescue.

As in the first half the Scarlets were more incisive from the kick off with fleet of foot Elen Evans once again making headway and setting up the platform that eventually saw Sioned Harries feed close supporting  Ffion Jones who grounded beneath the posts to give the Scarlets a lead that with Jodie Evans's conversion looked to be fairly comfortable.

However from this forty third minute onwards the tide changed and the Ospreys dominated possession and territory. The Scarlet defence had to endure a real test of character and commitment and with the loss of Number 8 Sioned Harries for ten minutes their task became more confounded as scrums were chosen to maximise the slowly increasing forward dominance. A series of such advancing set pieces finally saw the referee award a penalty try and with the standard Wilkins conversion the Ospreys were back to within five points with twenty two minutes to play.

A betting man would have plummeted for an Osprey victory at this point especially when the Scarlets became reduced to thirteen for a few minutes following Nat Walsh's indiscretion.

However the initial storm was weathered and as the minutes ticked by the tension amongst the players became more apparent with a few wild passes and unexpected handling errors hampering the Osprey forward march.

Second row Elin Hywel proved pivotal in preventing one promising attack as did Sioned Harries minutes later when stealing ball and offering Jodie Evans a relieving clearance kick. The Osprey challenge was then hampered to a degree when their captain Adi Taviner saw yellow but replacement Alex Donovan nearly gained hero status when her elusive touch line run nearly resulted in the Osprey breakthrough.

With time running out and tired bodies abound, pride resulted in one Emma Edwards (Caernarfon) and Sara Davies combination at scrum time ensure the final forward drive that to all intent and purpose was enough to seal the heroic Scarlet victory.


In the other match the Dragons beat the Blues by 22 points to 5 simply by being more clinical in the red zone but it was Caernarfon's Bethan Davies who scored a fine solo try for the Blues in the evenly fought second half.

The other Caernarfon lady on bench duty for the Scarlets was utility back Iona Evans.

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