Women's Premier Cup 2017.
Caernarfon Ladies 14 Swansea Ladies 41.
This inaugural Premier Cup competition fixture proved that Swansea had more strength in depth at their disposal than the Cofis. Both teams were devoid of their star players due to international duties but what materialised was thankfully a fully committed encounter that only saw the visitors extending their lead during the final quarter.
Players were loaned to balance the numbers, (thus ensuring some Cofis the freedom of Swansea) and the game was played in good spirit throughout. Caernarfon on the other hand, may launch a Sale type investigation to ascertain if information of paramount importance was divulged, that eventually became detrimental to their cause.
Swansea opened brightly and brought their threatening backline into action constantly. Elli Norkett's first touch saw her in space on the wing and her pace and shimmy created enough confusion to see her clear to open the scoring. Beth Preece added the conversion. Caernarfon responded and went through what in retrospect was their best period of the match. Beth Davies went close from fullback but it was second row Ceris Davies who added her momentum to a forward drive from a scrum to cross the whitewash on seven minutes. This effort was also converted to tie the score by Beth Davies. Another fullback break could easily have resulted in the Cofi lead being extended but uncharacteristically Captain Emma Edwards' hands failed her with the line beckoning.
Following this sustained period with no reward, Swansea capitalised when standout performer Robyn Lock broke clear from distance to power over on the half hour to grant Preece another conversion and conclude the first half's proceedings.
With the slope at their disposal Swansea began exerting more sustained pressure whilst the Cofis were in some respects masters of their own downfall since they didn't have a commanding presence to clear their lines when in their danger zone. Loaned Nia Davies drove well before Natalie Watkins rounded off the move by charging over. Watkins soon scored her second by taking a quick tap penalty from five yards and charging over, this following a cracking try saving tackle by Emma Edwards on Norkett that prevented the expected grounding.
The Cofis had debutant Gabriella Rossetti to thank for much good work and with familiarity with her team mates will become a valuable addition to the team. The one telling Cofi break of the second period by Beth Davies appeared to be try line bound but for the telling intervention of centre Ffion Bowen. However with the new high tackle law under such scrutiny she was a little unlucky to see her intervention being penalised and a penalty try being granted.
Beth Davies brushed herself down to add the extras.
Another on loan Cofi to the Swansea ranks, Sophie Richardson, ventured amongst the forwards for the first time and appeared to revel in being close to the action. Her initial drive was the catalyst for Natalie Watkins to once again be in support to beat the cover, score her third and with another Preece conversion cross the thirty point barrier.
Two tries were added during the final five minutes, the first seeing the ball pass swiftly amongst the backs for Elli Norkett to squeeze in at the corner before Natalie Watkins sounded off with her fourth of the day, supporting intelligently, before picking up from close range and barging over once again.
The competition opener hopefully proved of value to both teams with numerous fringe players being granted more game time, some adapting amicably to unaccustomed positions and others accepting leadership roles in the absence of the usual incumbents.
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