Thanet Wanderers Ladies clinch resounding win over Maidstone

43-0 win to Wanderers

By Ian Lodge

Thanet Wanderers RUFC Ladies kicked off their season at home on Sunday 3rd September with a resounding 43-0 victory over Maidstone RFC.

As this was a 2nd XV game, Thanet rested 15 players and selected a squad of 22 players to get the season underway and show how hard they had worked in pre-season.

The game kicked off with a clear game plan to move the ball away from Maidstone’s larger forward pack and the success of that game plan was shown early when Kirsty Burns making her debut at fly half fed powerhouse centre, Fleur Moat who powered under in the corner for a 5-0 lead.

A battle ensued in midfield in the early first half where the Maidstone pack were making progress, supported by their powerful inside centre and skilful full back. But after the backs had nearly got pacey winger, Amy Coster away, she got clear in the 20 minute and dotted down under the post for a try, converted by full back Léonie Bish for a 12-0 lead. Bish had moved from fly half into the full back position for the day and excelled with her composed play and experienced mix of kicking and running the ball.

After Moat had taken a dead leg knock, she was temporarily replaced in the centre by Izzy Lodge who quickly formed a powerful partnership in midfield with Anna Craven. And it was Lodge who got over next after being fed by Craven after a midfield break, again converted by Bish for a 19-0 lead.

Then shortly before half time, after some strong running back row work from Tilia Elliston, Keira-Leigh Gallup and captain Brioni Reah it was Moat who completed her double for a half time lead of 26-0.

Amy Coster and Aisha Williams after powerful stints were both lost to head knocks and will miss a couple of weekends as part of the RFU headcase protocols. Plus the coaching team were making plenty of changes to the side to get players gametime which inevitably causes disruption. That allowed Maidstone back into the game. Their full back almost got over on the left but the scrambling defence, a feature of the determination of this squad held her up over the line.

But the attack was not finished and after debutant winger Kat Stuart had been high tackled just short of the tryline, captain Reah took the responsibility and scored her first try for the club. Congratulations!

Gee Cordell recovering from an operation took over the scrum half short from the controlled Sophie West for the last 25 minutes – agreed with the Maidstone coaches – and it was not long before her high effort rugby saw her go over for a try on the left and a 36-0 lead.

The scoring was completed shortly before the end when Burns fed Lodge who this time evaded a tap tackle and face plant by scampering away from the Maidstone full back to score under the posts. Bish converted and the game ended 43-0 to the hosts.

All in all, Thanet gave debuts to 5 players as well as played 5 players with less than 5 games experience. All excelled, came out better players than they went in and are in a position to start to push for 1st XV shirts.

This weekend, Sunday 10th September, sees the 1st XV host Canterbury RFC in a pre-season friendly, KO 2pm. Canterbury were 4 levels above Wanderers last year but after a relegation and our 2-division promotion, there’s only one division between the teams. It will be a tough game but one that Thanet are up for.

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