With the second placed team visiting the third placed Midlanders in National Championship One (North), what should have been a battle-royale turned out to be a bit of a damp-squib for the away side as Camps cruised to a comprehensive 6-try victory.
The opening quarter of the match was characterised by some probing runs from both teams, but it was Waterloo that took the initiative with some strong carries which yielded good possession in the home sides' 22m. However it was resolute defence, particularly around the fringes that saw the likes of Vice-Captain Sian Williams and second rower Nadine Berry turn defence into territory as the maroon and light blues were able to steal and clear from both breakdown and subsequent open-field turn-overs.
20minutes gone and Camp Hill's ladies having adjusted to Waterloo's tempo, started to assert their own pressure - an opportunity close to Waterloo's try-line was ably defused but regrouping Camps launched another series of attacks which this time were clinically finished, flanker Lucy Pollard timing her pass to release fullback Jo Kilby. With the conversion from out-wide narrowly missed, Camps turned around 5-0 to the good.
Sustained pressure and disciplined pick 'n' drive work from Camp Hill's forwards drew continued reward as holes were punched beyond the gain-line. With scrum- and fly-half Vanita Henry and Beckie Morgan (respectively) linking superbly Morgan was able to release her backs with pace and depth and a set-move was duly delivered with aplomb: outside centre Hannah Bussey held the ball up for inside centre partner Jo Hart to hit the gap, the pocket-rocket needing no second invitation to dot-down for her third touch-down in as many games. Kilby converted to stretch Camps lead.
Shortly behalf the half-time whistle, Camps' forwards rubber-stamped their contribution to the game with a calculated power-play, an unstoppable rolling maul from 10m out giving Pollard a deserved first try of the season. However, it was Loo's forwards that had the last word, responding well to the gauntlet thrown by the Shirley-side, their pack, working hard from close range, capitalised with a smartly taken 5 pointer. Half-time: 17-5.
The second half continued under very much the same veil as the first, with Camps' pack, ably lead by hooker Becci Lewis taking control when and where it mattered. A steal against the head, giving the impetus for Hart to grab her brace as Camps' turned defence into attack outside the Waterloo 22m.
With the game drifting from the Liverpudlian's grasp even the introduction of the talented (ex-Worcester and current England U20) winger Helen Price was not enough to raise their sails. Some positive yardage was gained, but Camps' ability to absorb pressure provided them the composure to steal and clear their lines, Kath Adie (returning from World Cup/England indoor cricket duty, replacing the faultless Morgan) making a 30m clearance with a beautifully spiraled kick to touch.
Camps final two trys came courtesy of Camps' fullback Kilby, who wrapped up her hat-trick of scores following a Bussey break and off-load and the forwards' impeccable self-restraint: only inches from the Loo' try-line Henry unleashed a monstrous pass from the base of the breakdown which gave the backs instant width, Hart then handled to Bussey who again made the difference to release Kilby who cantered beneath the sticks for Adie to convert. Final score: 36-5.
An astonishing performance from Camp Hill against a team that is well versed in life at this level - they now secure second place with 13pts just behind Darlington Mowden Sharks (with 15) and ahead of Vale of Lune (on 9).
Next game: 14.10.07 vs. Vale of Lune (away), another team to have experienced life at both this level and beyond, Lune have lost only once - to the impressive Sharks - this season. Camp Hill WRFC will have to be at their best again to be in with a shout against the well-drilled, well-organised Lancastrian outfit. Kick off 2.30pm.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS