Ladies 1s Season Wrap
The Ladies 1st XV enjoyed another strong season in London and South East 1, competing against the likes of an established Surrey powerhouse in Sutton and Epsom, a handful of East London teams, as well as local rivals Streatham and Croydon. Despite a significant turnover in both coaching and playing staff, Grace Purnell’s team wrapped up the season in style, improving on last years 4th spot, just 2 points off of second-placed Hackney, and coming away with silverware for the clubhouse trophy cabinet.
Despite a punchy start to the season, the Ladies 1s found themselves in a poor stretch of form before the Winter break, losing to both Cuffley and an extremely strong Sutton and Epsom team at the halfway mark of the season. Whilst a tough game against an increasingly-fierce rival might not traditionally be the best way in which to rediscover form, the Ladies dug deep against Streatham and Croydon to come away with a 14-12 victory in challenging conditions, leaving them in second spot by February. With Sutton and Epsom running away with the division, it was Hackney Ladies who proved to be the strongest challenger amongst the chasing pack. Despite an impressive league double over the east Londoners, Hackney pipped the Ironsides Ladies to second spot.
Not content with a well-fought third place in the league, the Ladies had been fighting on two fronts, making it through to finals day. Even with a number of key players being lost to call-ups from both Surrey and Middlesex, the strength and depth of the 1s squad proved too much for the now-familiar Streatham team, taking the trophy with an 80-12 masterclass.
As well as delivering on the pitch, the 2018-19 season proved to be quite the success story off of it. With a strong commitment to coaching from within the club, the quality of rugby was ever more deserving of the increased crowds following the team to away fixtures, as well as on the sidelines of DSP. Active recruitment now has the entire Ladies section able to pick from 55 players, a number that will no-doubt grow as the 1s push for a league title, and the foundations for a 3rdXV! Special congratulations to Marah Neal (Player’s Player of the Year) and Tania Nadarajah (Coaches Player of the Year), as well as those called up to the county squads, with Marah Neal, Grace Purnell, Fiona Sutherland, Ellie Patterson, Cat Hay, Daisy O’Loughlin and Kirsty Clark getting the call from Surrey, and Sarah Jackson and Lauren Patterson getting picked up by Middlesex.
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