Weather was 11 degrees and drizzly with a swirling and gusty wind. definitely not the kind of conditions that the RHS girls were hoping for. These conditions were familiar and favoured the home team from Simonds High School, which had a much larger set of forwards.
In the first half RHS struggled for any clean possession from the scrums and lineouts and were lucky to have only been down 5-0 at the half on an unconverted try. Coach Bob Wallace explained “RHS was defending well and our tackling was relatively good so that kept us close.” I guess you could say they were patient but that certainly was not in their game plan. The girls knew how to be patient, and they did the “bend but don’t break defence” which is part of the modern game.
In the second half the RHS forwards elected to stay with the Pick and Go’s from the base of the rucks. The fitter RHS forwards lead by Karena MacKay, Hannah Sears and Allison Ingham finally started to penetrate the opposition territory. Simonds capitalized on a box kick that bounced back into the hands of their inside centre who was charging forward and she outpaced the RHS back line pursuit and scored under the post. The convert was good and the score was Simonds 12- RHS 0 with 12 minutes to go and the crowd going wild.
RHS were desperate and struggling for any kind of clean possession. Captain Maggie MacPhee elected to go with quick tap penalties and connected with inside centre Siobhan Murphy who weaved her way through the Simonds defence and touched down for a try under the posts with about 7 minutes remaining. MacPhee wasted no time and was good on the convert and the score was 12-7 for Simonds with time winding down. This silenced the experienced Simonds crowd as they sensed that this RHS squad was for real and that the momentum was shifting. With time winding down the fitter and faster RHS forwards were first to the rucks and finally getting the possession they were denied earlier.
Maggie MacPhee decided to take matters into her own hands and scored a try from a loose ruck. She touched down about 15 meters to the left of the posts. With the aid of a mighty boot, some uncanny insight, MacPhee marched back about 30 meters and a slight calculation for the wind, nailed the the kick and RHS finally had the lead and the victory.
Coach Wallace commented on how challenging it was to win in Simonds “Simonds teams come to play and have a great history. In fact, I can’t recall ever winning there . I do recall loosing there on a number of occasions.”
The beat goes on for RHS. “We will take a day or so to regroup and then look to the task at hand.” says Wallace. The RHS Royals will face the juggernaut MHS team for the NBIAA Girls AAA Championships trophy, coincidentally called The Wallace Cup. Time and location to be confirmed.