England A 27 Nomads 12
The Nomads outfit, who had 584 caps between them compared to England A’s five, were led superbly by captain and former England international Susie Appleby who also claimed a hat-trick of tries.
For England A, whose captain Richmond’s Karen Jones also led by example, the game will act as great preparation for the remainder of the season which sees the team take on Spain and France A away before hosting the Nomads again on March 15th at London Irish RFC.
England A started well and had the upper-hand over the visitors, but they could not translate the pressure into points and paid the price on seven minutes when the Nomads took their first opportunity and made the most of it.
The score came from a Nomads scrum on the 50 metres of which former England player Claire Frost picked-up and drove on before scrum-half Jo Yapp set-up Appleby and Sarah Marsh. Fullback Marsh was brought down to the ground, but the Nomads retained possession and drove forward again with Yapp and then Appleby doing the damage in attack.
The conversion was missed but it did not matter too much for the visitors who only had to wait seven minutes before they were next on the scoreboard. This time a Nomads scrum in the 22 saw Yapp break, before being brought down just short of the line. But Yapp was soon back in action and then recycled the ball out to fly-half Appleby who broke the line for try number two.
But the Nomads early advantage did not put the young England side off their stride. On 21 minutes an England penalty saw No. 8 Heidi Shelburg break loose and England’s half-backs then set-up flying centre Charlotte Boggis to score on the right wing.
England too missed the conversion in the blustery conditions, but soon the scores were even at 10-10 with fullback Fiona Pocock bringing the scores level on 40 minutes. The Richmond player finished off the score in magnificent style under the posts after some good work by Boggis, Vicki Jackson and Tina Lee. A crucial conversion by Jackson then put England A 12-10 ahead at the break.
The Nomads then rolled on the replacements after the break and they did make a difference with their experience shining through. They had to wait until the 64th minute though before making anymore impact on the scoreboard. England were also left disadvantaged with the sin-binning of Sonia Green so when the Nomads opted for a scrum in England’s 22 they duly made the most of it and powered over the try-line with Appleby once again claiming the score.
Former England flanker Georgia Stevens then helped the Nomads to a 20-12 lead with a 73rd minute try after some forward pressure allowed Stevens to drive her way over the line.
Jane Locke then had the final say for the visitors with a try on the 80th minute leaving the final score 27-12 when fly-half Karen Andrew added the conversion.
England A Head Coach Mike Barnett said: “I am pleased with the way we came back in the first-half. It was pleasing to see the players come back from a 10-0 deficit to then take the lead at half-time with two tries and a conversion.
“However, the second-half was disappointing and the Nomads really made the most of the wind while our inexperience showed. I certainly think we were competitive physically but the Nomads were just too experienced for us. This will be good preparation for us ahead of our game against Spain on Saturday and then France A. It is great that we have got another fixture to go straight into.”
1 Claire Purdy (Wasps), 2 Samantha Dale (Worcester), 3 Rosemarie Crowley (Lichfield), 4 Sara Anastasi (Richmond), 5 Alexandra Stevens (Lichfield), 6 Karen Jones (C) (Richmond), 7 Gemma Sharples (Worcester), 8 Heidi Shelburg-Naea (Wasps), 9 Georgina Rozario (Pymouth Albion), 10 Christina Lee (Clifton), 11 Helen Price (Waterloo), 12 Charlotte Boggis (Exeter University), 13 Vicki Jackson (Lichfield), 14 Francesca Matthews (Richmond), 15 Fiona Pocock (Richmond). Replacements: 16 Samantha Jamieson (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), 17 Katherine Smith (Richmond), 18 Natalie Binstead (Wasps), 19 Sonia Green (Saracens), 20 Sarah Guest (Worcester), 21 Karina Page (Old Albanians Saints), 22 Georgina Roberts (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks).
Tries: Boggis, Pocock
Substitutions: Roberts for Price (46, blood), Binstead for Anastasi (50), Price for Roberts (52), Roberts for Jackson (59), Smith for Stevens
1 Maxine Edwards (England), 2 Pippa Crews (England), 3 Vanessa Gray (England), 4 Mara Moberg (Netherlands), 5 Donna Kennedy (Scotland), 6 Georgia Stevens (England), 7 Helen Clayton (VC) (England), 8 Claire Frost (England), 9 Jo Yapp (England), 10 Susie Appleby (C) (England), 11 Sue Day (England), 12 Selena Rudge (England), 13 Assunta de Biase (England), 14 Sarah Ulmer (Canada), 15 Sarah Marsh (England). Replacements: 16 Dawn Mason (Wales), 17 Ollie Davies (Cuba**), 18 Charlotte Keys (England*), 19 Eryka Wessell (Ireland), 20 Jane Locke (England*), 21 Karen Andrew (England), 22 Nicky Milne (Ireland). * denotes A cap, ** denotes uncapped *
Tries: Appleby (3), Stevens, Locke
Referee: Natalie Amor
England A Women Fixtures
Feb 2nd England v Nomads London Irish RFC, Sunbury, KO 1230pm LOST 27-12
Feb 9th Spain v England A, Stadium of the University City of Madrid, KO 4pm local time
Feb 23 France A v England A, Bourgoin, KO TBC
March 15th England A v Nomads, London Irish RFC, Sunbury, KO 3pm