At the last competition of the summer season, the Bamboos Women’s team played in the National Finals of the Secure Trading 24/Sevens Series at the famous Rec in Bath. Getting to this stage was already a fantastic achievement, making it all the way to the semi-finals was the icing on the cake of an exceptional season.
Considering that this is only the second-ever season for the women’s team, the squad has been extremely successful in recent months and constantly improved their game in all areas.
The standard of the finals at the Rec, where the eight best teams of the country come together to compete for the series crown, was as expected very high and it was obvious that this would be the most challenging task of the season.
In addition, windy and wet weather conditions made it an even trickier affair for coach Lewis Pratten and his side. In the first match of the day, it took the Bamboos a while until they familiarised with the occasion and a strong opponent.
West Park Leeds took the lead early on, but we managed to equalise quickly after. However, Leeds constantly created great opportunities and despite a solid defense and a yellow card for Leeds, they took a 7-14 win in the first match.
With the extra pressure to win the remaining two matches to stay in the Cup competition, the girls went a lot more confident into their second match against Harwich Hooters.
The encounter started with a shocker as forward Rhi Gower picked up a nasty ACL injury in the early minutes which marked the end of the tournament for her. On behalf of the whole squad, we like to wish Rhi a speedy recovery.
Losing Rhi at such a crucial stage made things even more challenging for captain Sue Neumann and her team but thanks to a strong bench the girls continued to battle on and managed to score four converted tries to secure a 28-7 win.
Securing the first win of the day, the Bamboos faced Wymondham Wasps in the final pool game to get through to the Cup semi-finals.
Again, the weather conditions hardly allowed to play an expansive game and consequently, both teams tried to gain yards within the centre of the pitch. As in the second match, the girls started positive and scored a couple of tries, however, the Wasps came back and scored two tries by their winger. But eventually, the 28-14 win was never in danger.
Finishing in the second position meant that we faced once more Swansea Women’s RFC, a team which we came across in all UK tournaments this season apart from the Hartpury Sevens.
Swansea, currently the finest and most successful 7s team in Wales underlined their outstanding form during the Cup semi-final. While our team kept up with them in the first half, during the second half the Welsh Champions were just more patient and ruthless in the attack which lead to a 31-5 final score. Swansea progressed to beat English Universities in the final.
Nevertheless, this special day will be remembered for a long time as the Bamboos Women’s team finish the season as one of the best four teams in the UK.
S. NEUMANN (C), C. COLLIE, E. HUGHES, A. ROOKE, S. CLEVERLY, R. TAYLOR, P. ROBERTS, E. SWALES, A. TOMAS, A. WHITECROSS, R. GOWER, M. MASSEY
7 BAMBOOS RFC 7 - 14 WEST PARK LEEDS
7 BAMBOOS RFC 28 - 7 HARWICH HOOTERS
7 BAMBOOS RFC 28 - 14 WYMONDHAM WASPS
7 BAMBOOS RFC 5 - 31 SWANSEA RFC WOMEN’S