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Sun 24 Mar 2024
Workington RFC
Amber Valley Tigers


John Hastings10 May - 19:44
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Workington Zebra Finches 82 Amber Valley Tigers 0

Twelve months on from their nail biting last-second semi-final victory over Lichfield Green that sent them to Twickenham, holders Workington Zebra Finches wrote another chapter in their history as they reached their second RFU Community Plate Final in succession long before half time as they eventually demolished Amber Valley Tigers 82 - 0 in a one-sided semi-final at The Ellis.

It is worth noting that the Tigers from Derbyshire had arrived with only 13 fit players, having lost several due to injuries and other commitments, but they were 100% committed to turning up and playing the game - unlike a few clubs who Workington should have played during this competition, and to their credit, the Tigers never once came even remotely close to giving up during the match, nor did heads drop or body language changed.

Before kick off, there was an impeccably observed minute's silence to mark the first anniversary of the passing of Sue Bird, former Finches player and coach.

After their narrow defeat at Keswick last week, Workington were determined to seize control of the match from the first whistle and wasted no time in doing so as after only two minutes, Juliet Porter rounded off their first series attack to race clear and go under the posts for the opening try, easily converted by Nicole Stewart.

Ten minutes later, after more intensive bursts into Tigers territory, the lead was increased when Porter turned provider as she offloaded to an unmarked Megan Donald, who scythed through the hesitant Amber Valley defence to breeze into the corner for an unconverted try.

What followed next will never, ever be forgotten by the strong crowd of spectators enjoying the sunshine as Workington effectively wrapped up the match with three tries in six minutes - first Lauren Coulson left three players flailing before offloading a sumptuous pass to Danielle Easdon, who in turned stepped up the pace to gallop home into the corner, then this was followed by Donald and Porter adding their second tries, each delivered with merciless efficiency allied to lightning pace. Only one conversion was added by Stewart, though she was unlucky to see her other two attempts fall painfully wide.

By this time, other teams would have thrown in the towel and gone through the motions - not Amber Valley Tigers and after 22 minutes they finally made their first excursion into Workington's half as they provided a good running and astute passing, but the relentless Finches rearguard ensured that they proceeded no further. Catherine Clinkard, Chloe Smith and Zoe Claxton were the most dangerous going forward.

Workington weathered this brief storm and normal service was resumed on 26 minutes when Porter, Donald and Coulson combined to lace the ball to Beth Adams who nonchalantly shrugged off her nearest challenger to crash over and score the sixth try of the day and then on 32 minutes she added her second as she fiercely ploughed her way through the bewildered Tigers defence to touch down for an easy conversion by Stewart.

The weather may have been warm and sunny, but the Finches were in no mood to turn the taps off their try deluge and on the stroke of half time made it eight tries when captain Lottie Cammack collected a pass and drilled clear to go under the posts for Stewart to add another conversion.

If Amber Valley were hoping for Workington to be charitable and ease up in the second half, they were sadly mistaken as only three minutes had elapsed when Cammack found Rachael Wood who had the freedom of The Ellis to herself as she touched down, followed by another two points from Stewart.

On 51 minutes, it was the turn of Chloe Pape to join in the feast as she cut through unopposed to go over for an try, which this time round went unconverted.

Five minutes later, a mesmerising solo run by Donald left Amber Valley flatfooted and from the ensuing offload it was Stewart who finished off over the whitewash for her 11th try of the season before adding her 6th conversion of the day.

Amber Valley then went down to 12 after one of their players sustained a serious injury, at which point the referee asked both captains if they wanted to continue, which they were more than happy to do so.

On the hour, a neat one-two between Cammack and Stewart ended with the captain racing ahead unchallenged and under the posts for her second try. Stewart was most unlucky to see her kick smack againsr the bar, but she was able to make good humour out of it.

Amber Valley kept plugging away and made another excursion in Finches territory with fine movement followed by tireless scrummaging, but Workington were alert at every turn.

Then on 67 minutes, Stewart again fed the ball to Cammack, who in turn delivered the goods by punishing the tired Tigers to complete a well deserved hat-trick.

Finally on 70 minutes, Workington had the last word when a successful line out set the ball rolling for Adams to touch down for her maiden hat-trick. Following the missed conversion, the referee blew early for full time.

It really was a tremendous all-round performance by the Finches - from starters to finishers - and in their post-match debrief, coach Chris Davidson spoke of his pride for the club and urged them to write another glorious chapter in their history.

Total credit must go to Amber Valley not only for turning up but also for not giving up at any point during the game, with only tiredness eclipsing them towards the end of the match and now they can focus on trying to win promotion from RFU Midlands League 3.

Workington will now face Essex club Westcliff Lionesses from RFU South East League 2 in the Community Plate Final at Worcester on a date to be confirmed and it's a certainty that as at Twickenham last year the Finches will bring a highly vocal support down to Sixways.

Now with second place in RFU North 2 guaranteed Workington travel to Ryton Roses next Sunday determined to finish their league campaign on a high before all eyes turn to Worcester and hopefully more history in the making.

By John Hastings @ The ESG

Match details

Match date

Sun 24 Mar 2024


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