Win for Wanderers Ladies at penultimate NC2 league game

Wanderers win over Ashford Photo Ade Davies

By Ian Lodge

Photos: Ade Davies

Thanet Wanderers Ladies 62 Ashford Ladies 14

Thanet Wanderers Ladies were back at S. Peter’s Rec for their penultimate NC2 league game against local rivals Ashford Ladies and hopes were high having won the reverse fixture 55-0 in January.

But with half a dozen first choice players missing through a combination of injury, illness and unavailability there was an opportunity for some 2nd XV to stake a claim for a 1st XV shirt.

Chloe Siddall started her first game at blind side flanker, Sorcha Madisson debuted in the forwards whilst Kat Stuart and Emily Williams had a chance to stake a claim at wing and tighthead prop respectively.

Having started strongly around the ruck and stretching the ball wide, Rachael Austerberry was put away for an early try by her centre partner, Izzy Lodge.

Ashford were competing in the pack and the strategy to move the ball wide early paid off. Number 8, Georgia Elks and loosehead prop Holly Thurman-Newell were rampaging through Ashford defenders and quick ball saw the half back pairing of Maria Castellina and Alex White feed the centres and Austerberry helped herself to four tries before the half time.

Full back Megan Bish and Lodge got themselves on the scoresheet and with 5 goals added by White, Thanet turned around at 40-0.

With the coaches’ call to keep doing what they were doing to dominate the scoreboard, the half started well with a try for replacement second row Neave Evans in the corner before Kat Stuart celebrated her debut with a fine finish.

But then Thanet rather lost their way. A common problem throughout the season has been the inability to manage the relationship with referees and give them the respect they deserve and this came back to haunt Thanet Ladies once again.

With captain Gee Cordell being penalised for poor sportsmanship and some back chat from some of the forwards, Ashford were rewarded with significant periods of territory and possession. A first converted try soon came to reduce the deficit to 50-7 followed by yellow card for White who was lucky not to see red for a reckless high challenge.

This was closely followed by a penalty try after Elks had not retreated the necessary yardage after a penalty. Elks saw yellow for her misdemeanour and Thanet were down to 13 players for the rest of the game.

It is a mystery how the team get themselves into these positions but it is admirable how they get themselves out of them.

The last 10 minutes saw some fine play from the forwards and backs alike which saw Austerberry get her fifth try which will see her finish as top points scorer in the league before Siddall got on the end of a well worked move in the final play.

Thanet Ladies now have one more game in their first NC2 season against Gravesend on Sunday 28th April 2024 knowing that a 4 point victory or more will see them finish as league runners up.