By Ian Lodge
Lordswood Valkyries 3 Thanet Wanderers RUFC Ladies 1st XV 64
Thanet Wanderers 1st XV continued their impressive form in National Challenge 2 with a resounding win in Chatham playing the Lordswood Valkyries who finished fourth last year.
The team started strongly in the same manner as their last win over Southend, this time with a try after 29 seconds. Milly Thurman Newell made the midfield break and handed off the full back before feeding Neave Evans, maybe the fastest prop in Kent ladies rugby who outpaced the Lordswood fly half to score under the posts for an early 7-0 lead.
Scrum half Maria Castellina, standing in as captain for the absent Gee Cordell brought a calm and measured approach to the side and she and her half back partner, Alex White marshalled the Thanet troops around the park all day. The aim is always to move defenders where they don’t want to be and then exploit the space. And this worked well all day.
The game was being played in 4 quarters due to the unseasonal heat and before the first quarter was up, Wanderers had extended their lead with a stock bullish run from Milly Thurman Newell before Rachael Austerberry and then Amy Coster used their evasion skills to extend the lead to 24-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Into the second quarter and after Vicky Flower had taken a ball to the face, Carley Powderham went on for her 1st XV debut in the back row. And further sweet hands from White and Kirsty Burns saw Austerberry and Coster go over for the second tries before skipper Castellina got on the scoresheet. White hit her fifth conversion of the day to make the half time lead 45-0.
Whilst the scoring was being done out wide, the damage was being done up front most notably from the Thurman Newell powerhouse trio of Milly, Ella and the returning Holly as well as Georgia Elks, Hollie Callaghan, Brioni Reah and Aisha Williams who bulldozed their opposition in defence and attack all day.
The third quarter saw the scoring slow as Lordswood shored up their defence and it was a much closer second half. Megan and Leonie Bish made good progress allowing Austerberry to complete her hat trick and Castellina got her second. Fleur Moat had come on, returning from injury and after good work from Thahseen Ali and Louise Rubens, it was Moat that made the break to feed Coster to go over for her hat trick try.
White added another two conversions for a personal haul of 14 points and the game ended 64-3 to the visitors.
It has been a strong start to the season for Wanderers with resounding wins over last season’s third and fourth placed sides.
They will host Cranbrook Ladies on Saturday, KO 1pm which will be a curtain raiser to the men’s 1st XV who will KO at 3pm. Then after a week off, it’s a return to cup action on Sunday 29th October with a visit to Ashford, who currently sit joint top of National Challenge 2 with two wins out of two.