STRATFORD Ladies bounced back to win the Vase at the first Super Sunday competition of the season at Ledbury last weekend.
Rebecca Charles took charge as captain for the second time, in the absence of injured Jane McGovern.
Fielding a depleted squad of eight at the start of the day, with Rachel McGovern as the only player with more than one season’s experience, Stratford faced Redditch, Balsall/Old Covs and hosts Ledbury in their pool.
Once again, the playing draw was not in their favour and they had all three matches in a row.
Redditch was up first and Stratford showed that they had worked hard on defence since the last tournament. They eventually went down 2-0, but played significanly better than last time out.
Stratford then faced the newly-formed Balsall/Old Covs team and the game ended in a 2-1 defeat despite a try from Jessie Darling.
The final pool game against Ledbury was a tough one, as the hosts proved to be much quicker in attack.
Stratford lost 5-1, with their consolation from Rachel Browne.
This put Stratford in the play-off with Pinley and Brecon and having been bitterly disappointed to finish last in the pool, the team were determined to give everything they had for the final two matches.
Pinley were up first and Stratford claimed a 4-2 success thanks to scores from McGovern, Browne and two from Heather Britton.
The game between Brecon and Pinley ended as a draw, so Stratford knew a win against Brecon would earn them the Vase.
A solid defensive performance led Stratford to a 1-0 victory, with the winning try coming from McGovern.
We won a trophy, which is a real boost for the team,” said coach, Richard Pepperell.
“Our handling skills continue to develop, defence was much improved and we won our last two games well.
“We still need to work on speeding up the play after a touch, our lines of running and using the right people in the right places on the pitch.”
Laura Middlemast was named as Stratford’s player of the tournament.