Bury St Edmunds Ladies Foxes win see-saw play-off battle with Sutton Coldfield to gain historic promotion to third tier of women's rugby
After winning the league with conviction it was now down to the play-off game for promotion against a side that had a very similar run in their equivalent league in Sutton Coldfield.
This was shown in the battle between the two teams with the Foxes coming away with a well fought win, 15-12.
With Sunday's game being played at a neutral ground, Wellingborough RFC in Northamptonshire, it was the opposition who started the scoring off, running the first in under the posts before following up with a conversion.
However, this did not affect the belief that the Foxes had in winning the game, and with some strong tackles and runs from forwards and backs alike, they were able to get a hold of the game. Both the Foxes and Sutton Coldfield were battling for the next try in the game, with the Foxes winning out.
The first try for the Foxes came off the back of a very dominant scrum with the ball being passed through the hands of the backs and them drawing in the defenders for Lucy Kerr to run in the try from the 22, unconverted.
The battle continued in the first half with both the Foxes and Sutton Coldfield pushing hard to try and get the next points. Through this the Foxes' defence stood strong and held off their attack with strong tackles.
The battle in the second half did not slow down with both teams wanting the next points.
With the Foxes under pressure from the attack they were able to hold this off and receive the ball after some strong rucking.
The next try of the game came for the Foxes after a quick tap from a penalty and going through the phases the ball was able to be passed through the hands for Lucy Kerr to score her second of the game for a 10-7 lead, with the conversion kick again failing.
With Sutton Coldfield coming back strong and looking for their next try the Foxes fought hard to hold off the onslaught of runs by the opposition, however they were able to go over the line for their second of the game to regain the lead, 12-10.
The Foxes did not let the try deter their team belief and their game plan, with Elina Rougier at 10 controlling brilliantly they were able to get the curcial next points on the board. The last try of the game came from a charge down from Sutton Coldfield landing in the hands of Steph Hanratty to run down the wing for the Foxes to take the lead 15-12.
With at least 10 minutes left of the game the Foxes defence showed why it has been the best in the league all season as they held off the strong attack coming from Sutton Coldfield.
Finishing the game on the front foot, the Foxes were able to keep the lead, resulting in the win and gaining league promotion to Women's Championship Midlands 2 (third tier).
Forward of the Match: Cecily White.
Back of the Match: Elina Rougier.
* For reaction to the Foxes' historic promotion, see Friday's Bury Free Press.
* On Saturday, the men's first XV pushed second-placed Canterbury all the way to the wire in a 35-23 defeat where Nick Wakley's side were left to reflect on what could have been with missed opportunities. It left the Wolpack ninth in the National League 2 South table ahead of hosting bottom sideLondon Irish Wild Geese in this Saturday's last round of matches (3pm). Being just three points off sixth-placed Clifton, Bury could still end up equalling their best-ever finish (6th) in the fourth tier.
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