Groningen away; it’s always a difficult match. Just like last season we drove up to the north with some anxiety in our stomachs, but this year also with confidence. We had a full and strong squad (Adriana even booked a new flight from London to Groningen, so she could play after having watched a Rugby World Cup match! Dedication in its purest form!) And we were going for the win! Cause winning would mean that we would have a solid 4 out of 6 wins and are almost certain to win our pool.
However, Groningen had also prepared weeks for this match! They worked in their trainings on their scrum and stealing the ball and you know what, it worked! Damn it was a close game!
Kick off was at 14.30 and after 7 minutes it was Groningen who opened the score with a try. Although we fought hard to get our try, it ended up being another game of forwards rugby. The scrums were tough and physical, Groningen went for the heavyweight tactic and we had to work hard to keep our focus and minds in the game. All the scrummaging and whistles were getting into our heads. And the fact that those northern girls kept stealing our balls in the rucks!
Half time.was our coach for the day, he helped us focus and with good feedback sent us back onto the pitch. Up our defence and up our discipline! Go All Blues!!!
Back onto the pitch it was our turn to make a quick try! Joyce found a gap after we had a scrum on their 5 meter line and dove straight through. Phiew 5-5. Now let’s see if we can actually do what we came here for: win this game!!!
We managed to find our backs more and within 5 minutes it worked, Shoshannah on the wing made our second try after a beautiful dive over the try line. But this time Groningen upt their game and we were fighting like lions to keep them out of our 22. Unfortunately it didn’t work, cause after another 10 minutes is was Groningen who scored. 10-10…
This gives me time to make a small sidestep in the match report, cause not only our girls on the pitch were having a tough match, also two girls on the sideline were running back and forth. Eleni and Julliette kept running on the pitch for several injuries for both the All Blues and the Lady Bears. Both girls were much needed, appreciated and loved by us all. Well maybe not Ziggy, as she was taken off the pitch after an shoulder injury, but even she agreed after her adrenaline was run out that it was the best decision. Eleni and Julliete; thank you for being there and for saving us! and Eleni, hope you had a nice birthday
Back to the game: 10-10 and 15 minutes to go. God we wanted to win, and throughout the second half our subs came on and made the difference! Tackling a girl after you’ve been standing on the side line for almost an hour is pure pleasure and the first tackle of Renske was a good example of that. That girl didn’t know what hit her! But not only the subs brought in good tackles,also kept on going and taking out the Bears! It was like she created a zone around her and just went from tackle, to ruck, take a breather, catch up, tackle, ruck and so on! Brilliant.
After getting them out of our 22 we ended up in their 22. Gies was digging the ball out of the ruck and heard a scream from the sideline ‘right!!!’, with a quick ball she passed it to Tamar and through the line it ended up at Shosanna who again made a beautiful dive over the side line, 10-15! Everyone was cheering and started eating their fingernails cause it was 10 minutes left and Groningen pushed us hard! Tackles were made, rucks piled up and the whistle kept blowing. “It’s a mess!”, we heard the ref shout after he blew his whistle for a maul… Yep that will be one of our phrases from now on, cause it was slightly ridiculous.
The last minute started and Groningen marched up into our 22. At the line we were shouting our lungs out and in the field they were running their lungs out. Tamara tackled one of the girls who was getting terribly close to our try line and again the whistle blew, was it another mess? Was it a foul, was it a penalty try, just a penalty; what was it? It looked like no one knew, not even the ref, who ended up giving a penalty to the Bears… Last play girls, come one! This time we stole the ball from Groningen, found Giselleand she kicked it over the side line! Finally we heard the whistle we were waiting for: we won!!! 10-15 against a majorly strong Groningen, but still we ended up being stronger.