Celebrating a win as Thanet Wanderers Ladies return to League action

A win for Wanderers Ladies Photo Ade Davies Photography

By Ian Lodge

Thanet Wanderers Ladies 46 Lordswood Valkyries 5

Thanet Wanderers Ladies returned to league action for the first time in 2024 looking to get back to winning ways after their defeat at Southend shortly before Christmas.

Lordswood Valkyries were the visitors and although Thanet had won the game convincingly in October at their ground in Chatham, there was no complacency in the Thanet squad of 22. The conditions were very different, mud and wind as opposed to sunshine and fast surfaces which is always a good rugby leveller.

Photo Ade Davies Photography

Captain Gee Cordell won the toss and decided to go with the elements with the wind and slope behind her side and it was not long until the Lordswood line had been broken by rampaging forward Milly Thurman-Newell, this week plying her trade in the second row. She attacked the line, broke the defence and then handed off the full back to go in under the posts. The extras were added by fly half, Alex White for an early 7-0 lead.

As in many of these NC1 league games, a lot of the action then took place in the middle of the park with two strong packs going at it against each other. Brioni Reah, in at number 8 for the first time in a few months and forward of the match, Holly Thurman-Newell were leading the way with bullocking runs and dominant tackles in attack and defence respectively.

Photo Ade Davies Photography

After winger Megan Bish had suffered a dead leg and had to be replaced by Jess Anderson, it was not long until the ball wall brought out to the left wing where Anderson lurked and she outpaced a number of cover defenders to score, once again converted by White for a 14-0 lead after as many minutes.

With the wind and slope tiring the Lordswood defenders, the last 20 minutes of the first half saw three further first half tries. The first by Rachael Austerberry who had moved to outside centre to accommodate the returning and aggressive inside centre, Izzy Lodge. It was Austerberry’s 13th try of the season. The other half of the Bish pairing, Léonie then got the next followed shortly by Keira-Leigh Gallup getting her first try in the sport both after good unselfish work by full back Thahseen Ali. Half time 29-0.

Photo Ade Davies Photography

The second half was always going to be tighter affair now that Lordswood had the elements in their favour and their front five were doing some damage around the rucks. Thanet defended this well though and it was to be the home team that scored next, once again it was Lodge who fed Austerberry who went over from 30 yards out. Next after some good work wide on the left, Gallup fed Anderson and she went over to take the lead out to 41-0.

But Thanet’s discipline had started to fail them and after an unacceptable number of penalties, White went for a 10-minute sit-down for a cynical foul. This was Thanet’s fifth yellow card of the season having gained none last season, so is an area in which team improvement is required. Now with the one player advantage, Lordswood went looking for the holes and after Thanet had been pegged down in their left corner, the Lordswood number 8 went over to open their scoring.

Photo Ade Davies Photography

But the final word went to back of the match, Austerberry who completed hat-trick in the dying minutes to take her season tally to 15 and take her to the top of the league scoring charts. Final score 46-5.

Thanet Ladies return to league action on Sunday 21st January at Ashford RFC before they travel to Hammersmith & Fulham for their last 16 match in the RFU Junior Cup.