FOLLOWING their fifth placed finish at Pershore, Stratford Ladies Rugby Club were keen to put in a performance that would keep them in the top half of the table at the fourth round of the Midlands Ladies Touch League, hosted by league newcomers Rugby St Andrew’s.
Kicking-off the tournament, Stratford faced top of the league Bromyard. The league leaders got an early try in the first half and, despite excellent play and a solid defence, Stratford just could not equalise and lost 1-0.
Their second match against Camp Hill followed with little time for recovery. Stratford made some defensive errors and lost momentum in attack, resulting in a disheartening 2-0 defeat.
Stratford had a third back-to-back match to play after their double defeat but, with some fresh legs, spirits were raised by a 3-0 win against Sutton Coldfield, all scored by Laura Facey.
Having completed all their pool matches in the first hour, Stratford had a tense wait to find out where they had come in the play-offs.
After an hour watching the other teams battle it out, Stratford were called up to play Wellesbourne in the play-off for fifth place.
With both teams on equal points in the league, everyone felt the pressure to put in the performance of the day.
An early try by Wellesbourne did not spoil Stratford’s focus and Rachel Priestley retaliated with an outstanding try through the middle of the Wellesbourne defence.
Both teams made changes at half time to try and get the result they wanted but, despite some brilliant play, neither team managed to cross the line.
After three minutes of extra time and each team down to just three players on the pitch, as one player dropped per minute of extra time, a very tired Facey used the last of her energy to make a blistering break down the full length of the pitch to finish the game 2-1 to Stratford.
The win against Wellesbourne means Stratford are now fourth in the league ahead of the next tournament at Ross-on-Wye on June 22.
Stratford Ladies train on Tuesday evenings between 6.30-7.30pm at Pearcecroft, Loxley Road.