A day of firsts for Stratford Ladies

Back - Michelle Johnson, Hollie Fletcher, Kat Lucas, Jane McGovern (Jags captain), Becki Coombe, Rhiannon Ridgway, Julie Allison, Rachel McGovern, Sue Pearson, Rebecca Charles and Sharon Quantrill. Front - Lisa Connolly, Caz Farris (Pumas captain), Laura Middlemast, Sally Clarke and Jessie Darling.


STRATFORD Ladies Touch Rugby Club made history on Sunday as they fielded two teams at the fourth round of the North East Midlands Ladies Touch League held at Redditch RFC.

The Stratford Jags, captained by Jane McGovern and coached by Richard Pepperell, found themselves in a pool with hosts Redditch and Atherstone.

Speedy winger Rhiannon Ridgway opened up the Jags account with a fantastic line break.

Captain McGovern added a brace of her own and despite allowing the hosts across the line once, this was enough to seal the first victory against Redditch this season.

In the next match against Atherstone, Becky Coombe touched down three times for her first ever hat-trick.

Ridgway added another to her total, leaving the Jags with a 4-0 win.

The result left Jags first place in their pool and left with tests against Wellesbourne and Camp Hill to determine first, second and third place.

Jags sealed their first win over Wellesbourne, thanks to tries from Ridgway and McGovern.

Solid defence only let their rivals through once for a 2-1 victory.

The Jags then faced Camp Hill and some structured and skilled play allowed Ridgway and McGovern to score again to seal the match and Stratford’s first tournament win of 2019.

Meanwhile, the Stratford Pumas, captained by Caz Farris and coached by Simon Ferris, were in a pool with Camp Hill and Rugby St Andrews.

The developmental squad consisted of six new players, including Sue Pearson who was competing in her very first tournament.

Stratford got off to a storming start with a try for Kat Lucas against Camp Hill and despite some stellar defence, Camp Hill did cross to score, leaving the match at a 1-1 draw.

Rugby St Andrews were next and a score from Lucas on the wing was not enough to prevent a 2-1 defeat.

The result put the Pumas in the third tier play-off against Atherstone and Woodrush.

After the break the Pumas’ collective skills and teamwork paid off as Farris and Sally Clarke both crossed the whitewash against Atherstone.

For Clarke, that was her first try in Stratford colours.

Farris added to her total against Woodrush, with Lisa Connolly also scoring her first try for Stratford who ran out 2-0 winners once again to finish top in the third tier and seventh overall.

Caz Farris and Jane McGovern.

Player of the tournament for the Jags was McGovern and Farris for the Pumas.

Both captains led by example and encouraged the teams to play to their strengths as well as running in a few tries for themselves.

Coach Pepperell said: “The way this squad has been developing, it was only a matter of time before a second team and a tournament win were achievable and to do it all on the same day is truly testament to their collective hard work.

“They all play rugby with high levels of skill and at a high intensity and have really become a joy to watch.

“It all comes down to hard work, resilience and solid teamwork.

“They should all be so proud of what they have achieved.”

Stratford’s next outing is their Super Sunday tournament on Sunday, 30th June.

Teams from the North East and South West Midlands Leagues will head to Pearcecroft to compete in the event.

Training continues for Stratford on Tuesdays at 7pm.