By Beth Kenure
A 9 hour round trip was on the cards this weekend as a light squad of 14 North ladies made the long journey up to Caernarfon.
With only a short time to warm up, North had a shaky start, letting in two early tries. Soon after that North began to organise well. A dominant North scrum saw the Cofis penalised a number of times in that area. This allowed number 10, Robyn Wilkins, to kick her way upfield and for the team to use their powerful lineout drive.
Further infringements on the Caernarfon 5m line frustrated the North pack, and with no cards in sight, North continued to execute lineouts on the 5m line.
After a period of sustained pressure, North managed to cross the whitewash but the ball wasn’t grounded properly. During the charge, North tight head prop Nia Jones sustained an ankle injury and had to leave the field. This left the team with 13 players and a lot to do.
Yet another penalty earned North their first points, Wilkins slotting a penalty from the middle of the park.
Buoyed by points on the board, the North ladies were aggressive in attack and defence, winning much turn over ball and attacking with purpose. But a quick tap penalty against the run of play saw Caernarfon score a runaway try just before half time. Score 17-3.
The second half saw North hit the field with renewed purpose. 13 black shirts covering a lot of ground and leaving no gaps in defence. Yet another Cofi penalty finally saw the referee reach for his cards and the overlap was reduced to one. North took advantage of this and following some handy passing from the forwards, Wilkins made a dash from her own 22 to score under the posts.
Following a second conversion most of the momentum was with the North. But again a breakaway by Caernarfon restored the points gap.
Not a single one of North’s determined 13 ladies saw their heads drop. They continued to be relentless in attack and defence. This in turn led to another yellow for Caernarfon and another try for the ladies in black, Jenny Hawkins diving over the line and touching down a loose ball. The try was converted leaving the score 24-17 with 5 minutes on the clock.
The attitude and commitment of the North team was evident by the confidence and intensity with which they attacked the end of the game. With an eye on another score before the final whistle, North threw everything they had into the dying minutes. But the clock was against them and despite continued pressure in the Caernarfon 22, they were unable to get decent phase play going and the ball was kicked into touch signalling the end of a courageous performance.
North have a weekend off to recover now before welcoming Cardiff Met to Hailey Park on 15 November.