STRATFORD Ladies were able to field two teams for the third time this season at the North East Midlands Ladies’ League’s penultimate event at Wellesbourne on Sunday.
The excellent turnout is evidence of the popularity of the game and Stratford can take plenty of encouragement from the Pumas’ third-placed finish, with the Jaguars seventh.
The Pumas, coached by Richard Pepperrell and captained by Jane McGovern, fielded seven players, two of whom were carrying injuries into the event.
The first game was a crunch match against rivals Camp Hill for overall league position of third and aggressive defence and some ingenuity brought tries from Rebecca Charles and Kat Lucas in a 2-0 Stratford win.
In the second game the Pumas dominated from start to finish, scoring four tries and again conceding none against an inexperienced Atherstone.
These results ensured they topped the group and faced Wellesbourne and Redditch in the first tier play-off. Despite an extremely well worked try straight off the training pitch from Jessie Darling, the Pumas lost 3-1 to tournament and league winners Wellesbourne.
In the final game Stratford Pumas managed to muster enough energy to score possibly the most outstanding try of the day with nearly the final play of the game.
The team gave Rhi Ridgway the chance to cross the line and level the game 1-1 against Redditch as the Pumas ended third.
Eight-strong Jaguars, coached by David Hitchins and captained by Caz Farris, opened with a hard-fought 0-0 draw against Rugby St Andrews in which new recruits Sue Pearson and Michelle Johnson impressed and Alice Mercer produced a fine try-saving touch.
Wellesbourne then proved too strong in a 3-0 defeat and, as Rugby Saints lost to Wellesbourne by less tries, the Jags found themselves in the third tier play-off.
The Jaguars beat Woodrush 1-0 thanks to Hollie Fletcher’s try on the wing from Farris’ pass before defeating Atherstone 3-0 through scores from Fletcher and Becki Coombe (2) to top the third tier and finish seventh overall.
Player of the tournament for the Jaguars was Pearson whose defensive work rate was outstanding, along with her supportive play in attack which has improved so much this season. For the Pumas it was Charles for her leadership, hard work and two well-worked tries.
The last outing for Stratford Ladies in 2019 will be the Super Sunday at Ledbury this weekend.