STRATFORD Ladies finished their campaign with a gritty effort in the ‘Super Sunday’ competition at Redditch on Sunday.
Having finished a highly respectable fourth in the regular North East Midlands League, Stratford were determined to sign off in decent style as they took on sides from their own division and the South West Midlands League.
Twelve teams attended this Super event and the first part of the day involved matches in four pools of three. The games took the format of 14 minutes Touch Down Turn Around (TDTA) with no half time – a common format in regional and national touch competitions.
Stratford first faced Pershore, who finished second in the South West Midlands league. As seemed to be common for Stratford this year, the team took this first match to warm up and were beaten 5-0 as they lost Sam Gilliver to a recurring calf injury.
The second pool match was against the combined team of Berkswell & Balsall/Old Coventrians and there were flashes of brilliance in terms of team play, exploiting gaps and pressurising the defence, but a combination of anxiety, lack of experience and some balls not going to hand meant only one Stratford try was scored by captain Bec Charles.
Stratford drew 1-1, which meant they entered the play-offs for the Bowl, in which they were one of four sides in contention for Bowl victory.
Their first opponents were Pinley 2nds against whom Stratford secured a last-gasp 1-1 draw thanks to Caz Farris who exploited a gap on the left and fed Alice Stevens to cross the line.
Then followed an impressive 3-0 victory against Ross 2nds as Stevens (2) and Charles scored the tries which rewarded good work in both attack and defence.
Stratford finished the day with a game against Ledbury from the South West Midlands League who they had yet to face this season. Having only one substitute took its toll on Stratford who had to settle for a 0-0 draw, leaving them edged into second place in the Bowl behind Ledbury.
Stratford’s player of the tournament was Stevens for her work-rate in attack and defence. Coach Rich Pepperell said: “The team effort, commitment and work-rate was really impressive, as it has been all season.
“The team’s learning has been outstanding and we are in a really positive place ahead of next season.”
Stratford are pleased that Pepperell and team sponsors SALTS Healthcare will be continuing their support into the 2018 season. The Ladies will now take a break from training until the new year.