Stratford Ladies off to a fine start

n Back: Jon Tarrant, Cara Finn, Rhiannon Ridgway, captain Rebecca Charles, Julie Allison, Becki Coombe, Rachel McGovern, Lola Smith and Elliot Smith (mascot and coach). Front: Hollie Fletcher, Caz Farris, Jessie Darling and Kat Lucas pictured with Ruby the dog.


STRATFORD Ladies Touch Rugby Club started their 2020 season with a joint fourth-placed finish at a Super Sunday tournament hosted by Luctonians RFC.

The event featured teams from both the North East and South West Midlands leagues, and it was the first outing for the team under the guidance of new coach Elliott Smith and new captain Rebecca Charles.

The pool matches for Stratford were all against opposition from the South West Midlands league and the ten-strong squad’s first game was against hosts Luctonians 1sts which they won 1-0.

The breakthrough came following a good team move resulting in Rhiannon Ridgway scoring in the corner.

The next match for Stratford was against Super Sunday holders Ledbury.

The team were led well by captain Charles and it was Rachel McGovern who orchestrated the move which allowed Ridgway to score to give her side a deserved 1-0 lead at half-time.

However, Ledbury hit back quickly in the second half and scored two tries in quick succession to win the game 2-1.

The final pool match saw Stratford up against Bredon 2nds. Stratford dominated possession, but handling errors saw a number of opportunities go astray until Kat Lucas used her speed to break their defence and make the breakthrough score.

This was followed up by another score from Ridgway to give her side a 2-0 victory.

With two wins and one defeat in the pool, these results placed Stratford in the Plate competition against Woodrush and Ross-on-Wye.

Stratford’s first match was against Woodrush and they really upped their tempo to put the opposition under a lot of pressure.

Charles spearheaded the attack and executed a training ground move to break their defence to open the scoring.

This was followed shortly by an excellent individual effort by Charles to break through again and make it 2-0.

Hollie Fletcher then used her turn of speed to race through from the halfway line to score.

With the match wrapped up, the team exploited a retreating Woodrush defence and Ridgway scored again in the corner to make it 4-0.

The final match of the day was against Ross-on-Wye and Stratford were determined to put in a strong performance and get a result.

The game was evenly balanced, but after some consistent defence a momentarily lapse saw Ross open the scoring.

Stratford continued to push hard and their efforts were rewarded in the dying minutes when Ridgway was able to use her pace on the outside to level the scores.

Stratford ended the tournament in joint fourth place, but narrowly missed out on winning the Plate based on the number of tries scored in the pool matches.

Stratford’s player of the tournament was Ridgway for scoring in every game they played in.