Successful Trip to Swindon for The Sharks
A hard fought win in difficult conditions for the Sharks down in Swindon
The Sharks set off early Sunday morning to make the 255-mile trip to Swindon to take on Supermarine R.F.C Ladies in the only pre-season run out before the Tyrrell’s Premier 15s League gets under way on the 16th September at The Northern Echo Arena. The new DMP Shark’s Coach Justin Loveridge took a squad of 19 players, blooding 6 new debutants*, down to Supermarine R.F.C. Many members of the Sharks team are enjoying a well-earned rest after reaching the World Cup Final with the England ladies team.
With the fixture being a preseason game, both sides were happy to change the format from the usual two 40 minute halves to two 30 minute blocks and one 20-minute block. This allowed DMP Sharks coach Justin Loveridge to give everyone a run out, try different combinations and help get an idea of the way his players perform on a match day.
The weather was to play a factor on the game as it was rainy and windy, which led to many handling errors by both teams. Despite the weather, the pitch held up, remaining firm under foot which allowed some running rugby to be played by both sets of ladies.
The first 30 minute block saw Supermarine RFC dominate lots of attacking possession in what was a scrappy start to the game. However, the Sharks showed good individual defence to prevent the home side from gaining an early advantage.
As the first 30 minutes went on the Sharks started to find themselves in the game by making several line breaks. Over ambition by forcing offload, in poor conditions, prevented DMP Sharks from capitalising on the line breaks being made. Eventually Joey Edwards, on debut, caught out a napping defence and took quick tap penalty to dart over the line from 10m out. The try was then converted by Hannah Morton to give the Sharks a 7-0 lead. Shortly after Hannah Morton missed a penalty kick at the posts, leaving the score at 7-0 at the end of the 1st block.
Justin made 4 changes for the second block of 30 minutes to give everyone a run out and get some game time in this preseason fixture before the first real test. Leading to disruption
Supermarine RFC dominated possession but once again the Sharks defence held firm and showed bravery dominating tackles. The opposition finally broke the Sharks defence, scoring two tries in the final 10 minutes of this second 30-minute block. Both tries coming from close quarters, firstly from a scrum and then a close-range pick and go. On both occasions the extra’s could not be added but still Supermarine would lead 10-7. Sharks poor discipline allowed the home side to further extend the lead by kicking a penalty to go 13-7 up. The Sharks attack once again looked promising making regular line breaks but still just could not quite find the final pass and sacrificing good attacking territory.
Going into the final block of the game the team was swapped around again to try different combinations. This seemed to work as DMP sharks finally found their rhythm and taking ownership of the game. A great line break by kicker, Hannah Morton unfortunately came to nothing but lifted the excitement levels of the ladies. The hard work that the Sharks have put in during pre-season started to show with a sensational try by Rosie Blount, coming from a set piece move, running it in from 50 metres dodging several defenders to score in the corner. The conversion was missed leaving the score at 13-12. It was a tight affair for the final 5 minutes of the game. Sharks kept asking questions of the Supermarine defence and eventually a powerful run by Imogen Keirl, on debut, led to quick ball for Ruth Nash to score under the posts. A simple conversion by Hannah Morton secured the win. DMP Sharks 19-13 Supermarine Ladies.
Catching up post game with the coach Justin Loveridge, he stated “A great first run out for the sharks, lots of positives from the new look team with debutant Roshini Turner shining in the forwards and Rosie looking a threat every time she got her hands on the ball. I encourage the ladies to throw the ball around, maybe a bit too much, as it led to errors but we are still in pre-season and I want them try things.”
*Debutants- Jemima Merrin, Imogen Keirl, Joey Edwards, Ale Lewis, Elle Bloor, Roshini Turner
You can see the DMP Sharks in action for their 1st game on the 16th September against Gloucester Hartpury which will take place at the Northern Echo Arena 4pm KO. This game is the first Double Header event which also involves the men’s 1st XV playing at 2pm against Cambridge.