Storm eclipsed by dominant Valley
By Suze Carey
McSorley's Match Report - BY RACHEL BRIGGS & SUZE CAREY
Storm was left ‘Red’-faced at the hands of Valley this weekend, suffering a tough 37-0 defeat in a match heavily dominated by scrums. The scoreline reflects a small improvement on the two teams’ first meeting this season, back in September, where the home side was beaten 46-7.
The Valley Reds came out in force in the first 20 minutes, capitalising on the speed and experience of their back line, against an unsuspecting Storm. Once again finding themselves on the back foot, Storm struggled to get their heads in the game. This was a match characterised by errors on both sides – but Valley’s experience gave them the edge, reacting much quicker when given the opportunity, particularly with a turnover ball.
There were, however, flickers of hope for Storm. Rachel Briggs (Back of the Match) shone at 13, demonstrating a versatility from her usual position on the wing, with some exceptional carries and strong tackles, no doubt placing her as a valuable option for games to come. Joanna Harries once again showed herself to be ruthless in defence - this weekend in the unfamiliar fullback position - and it’s impossible to neglect the outstanding performance of Eve Caplowe at scrumhalf, and Lucia Bolton’s nimble footwork making ground at no 12.
The Storm forward pack was overwhelmed in the first few scrums by a heavy opposition and experienced front row. Sensing opportunity, Valley’s tactics became a little un-sportsmanlike at times, attempting to exploit uncertainties from Storm’s side; however, the referee kept the game fair and was not to be swayed by the opposition’s unjustified outcries.
If the tight five started the game feeling like the underdogs, by the end they were competing at every scrum, in strength and skill. Mike Coates, Forwards Coach, could not have said it better in the team debrief: “Today, you learned to scrum”.
It was a spectacular first appearance for Hayley Kaplan (Forward of the Match) who proved she can go toe-to-toe with the almighty Valley front row, and not only compete but win. Joan Yip kept Storm in the game making ground with strong carries, and Brenda Chan didn’t miss a single opportunity to make her presence felt by the opposition. Lodgmond Hung also put in a stellar debut as flanker and there will surely be more to come from the two new faces in the forward pack.
This was a mighty effort from Storm, putting all their defensive training into practice. The question now is, can Sandy Bay’s Storm put out the Tai Po Dragon’s fire next Saturday?
Chris Garvey, Head Coach, responds:
“We have been battered by injuries, travel plans and pregnancy this season. Many players are having to step up and learn the game through a baptism of fire. We now start the second round with a better idea of what we are capable of, and with new players becoming more seasoned game by game.
I predict - continued progress, and the tipping point pre-Christmas. This weekend could be it.”