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Seven Bulls Girls are Kent U16 Champions!

It has been a long and hard season but what better way to end it with the ever-committed Sevenoaks & Aylesford coalition being crowed Kent Champions!

Going into the season both Sevenoaks and Aylesford Rugby Club’s had squads of only around 11 or 12 girls each, so they had to cluster together to be able to enter a team for the Kent League.

The potential was there from the start, but things took a while to click with many of the girls having never met each other before, never mind played rugby together.

After just a couple of joint training sessions they had their first ever game together in October – a friendly against Tunbridge Wells – but suffered a heavy loss and were also defeated by Medway in the second game a few weeks later.

There were signs of improvement over the weeks though as the girls got to know each other better and of course the coaches began to work their magic.

A turning point came in November when they came up against last year’s finalists Crimson Roses and defeated them 14-7 in an extremely physical encounter. It gave them the belief that they could compete together and carried on with victories against Sidcup and Black Darts before the Christmas break.

After finishing 2nd out of six in the ‘Conference A’ league they started the new year with tough games against the top Kent sides of the ‘Conference B’ league – namely Ashford & Tunbridge Wells. With confidence high and the squad gelling the girls went on to win both games and beat Tunbridge Wells again in the semi-final fully avenging the defeat from earlier in the season! They also gained revenge against Medway beating them in a friendly ahead of the final.

The final against Ashford was always going to be tough and no one was taking anything for granted. From the kick off Seven Bulls were on the back foot but defended valiantly giving Ashford little space to work with. Eventually pushing up the pitch Seven Bulls won a 5m penalty on the right-hand side with Libby tapping the ball, and got sprayed across the pitch before finding Emily who turned on the pace and raced over the line. 5-0, and first blood to Seven Bulls.

Ashford came back and Seven Bulls had to dig deep again to defend, but the pressure was sustained, and Ashford got their reward with a try to level things up at 5-5.

Seven Bulls had to regroup, and they did, gaining possession from the kick off, they kept plugging away before a bit of individual brilliance from Ella increased the score. The ball was won back inside the Ashford half & passed to Ella who senses a kick & run opportunity. With a good bounce, Ella gathers cleanly to run the ball under the posts. She converts her own try, and it is 12-5 to Seven Bulls.

Ashford again went back on the attack, but Seven Bulls gave as good as they got and with the ball getting closer and closer to Ashford’s try line, it was passed from the middle to the far-right side where Chanel gathered and ran it over the line. – 17-5 at halftime.

The second half started like the first with Ashford again mounting serious and sustained pressure before eventually scoring again in the far-right corner to make it 17-10. There was no doubt Seven Bulls have a fight on their hands!

But where Seven Bulls might have subsided earlier in the season it was not going to happen in the Kent final. After a scrum deep in their own half a long kick from Ella sees Ashford suddenly having to defend close to their try line. The ball is won back by Seven Bulls and with Imogen passing to Suskia who sprints over the line to make it 22-10.

Ashford kept fighting to the end, but the Seven Bull’s door was shut, locked, and barricaded with 15 girls not giving them an inch. The game was played out and before long the whistle was blown, and Seven Bulls were Kent Champions!

It is an incredible achievement from a group of girls whose progress from the start of the season has been a joy to watch. Well done to the girls from Sevenoaks: Imogen, Erin, Niamh, Georgia, Jaime, Maddie, Libby, Bronte, Heidi, Robyn and Scarlet; and from Aylesford: Nat, Suskia, Emily, Ella, Neve, Grace, Alys, Chloe, Amber, Chanel, Sophia, Gabby and Sophie.

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