Fylde Vixens v Birkenhead Park
From the restart more play took place in mid-field, the Vixens kept their heads up and were fighting ferociously at the rucks to gain possession. After a tackle made by Kat, Nana managed to clear out at the ruck, turning the ball over and giving Vixens possession, further play saw a line out awarded to them. Losing the line-out, Birkenhead’s 13 took possession and legged it from the half-way line, with no resistance the try was made, followed by the conversion 5-54.
At the restart, a very tired Fylde pack were unable to move forward quickly enough and Birkenhead’s answer to Usain Bolt (No 14) ran the pitch with a try right under the posts, another conversion made it 59-5.
A substitution was made and a spare Birkenhead player took over from Nana in the No 3 shirt (greatly appreciated by Nana).
From the restart Birkenhead gained ground making 20m but the referee blew the whistle and Fylde were awarded the scrum, the Vixens managed to keep possession but a dropped ball was scooped up by Birkenhead and by this time, with little or nothing left in the tank the Vixens watched as yet another try was made. No conversion this time, score 5-64.
For a while after the restart the play remained mid pitch, with the Vixens doing their best to create problems for Birkenhead until the ball went out of play and the referee blew the whistle for full-time. Birkenhead Park – They came, they saw, they conquered!
All in all the game was played with great spirit and both teams left the pitch weary. For her strong work in support and her never say die attitude, Bond (Martine Moore) was awarded Forward of the Match and for her persistence in trying to gain ground and making breaks; Holly Hulme was awarded Back of the Match.
A plus for the Vixens was that very little possession was lost through handling errors or from technical infringements they were purely weak in the back area due to inexperience. This was the Vixens’ second match against Birkenhead Park; unfortunately the other two teams due to play in the Cotton Cup today were a no-show. A decision was made to extend the game from 20 minutes to 40 each way. Not that this is any excuse; if anything it has highlighted that there is a lot of work for the Vixens to do.
Birkenhead Park have won by a very clear margin on both occasions and the Vixens will be eager to show that by the time they reach the final stages of the Cotton Cup; they have learnt from a very hard lesson.
Report written by Andrea Wensley & Alix Foster