League title up for grabs for Bury Foxes after narrow victory over leaders
Bury Foxes claimed a narrow 5-0 victory at home to Women’s Championship Midlands 2 leaders Buckingham Swans at the weekend, to close the gap to the league’s pinnacle to just two points.
With only two fixtures remaining in the season, Bury are on the cusp of a huge promotion achievement in their first league campaign in rugby’s third tier, having achieved promotion from the Women’s NC East 1 in 2018/19.
But just one team are due to go up, with the Foxes likely to need bonus point wins in both remaining fixtures to have a chance.
They are away to fifth-placed Lichfield Green Ladies in their penultimate league fixture of the season on Sunday.
They will be encouraged by the 53-21 victory in the reverse fixture in November.
The Foxes will look to continue with the recent form which has seen them win their last six league outings, including Sunday’s victory.
Both teams were eager to get more points on the board than their last meeting, when The Swans claimed the 7-0 win, but it was not to be on the windswept afternoon.
The first half was a stalemate, with both forward sides dominating the game and both back lines shutting their opponents down before the ball got beyond the inside centre and the half ended 0-0.
The Foxes concentrated on producing cleaner, quicker ball and attacking in wider forward channels in the second period and it soon paid off with a break from EJ Stearn, which gave room for Emily Ahern to find space on the wing.
As she was ushered in to touch, it was a sevens style no look champagne pass for Robyn King to collect, step the last two players and score the only try of the match.
The Foxes continued to make several breaks using the unusually quick line speed of the opposition against them and hitting the dog-leg gaps left by those over-running due to the ball not having had the chance to leave the base of the breakdown.
But, due to the Swans gaining a losing bonus point and the Foxes not securing a winning bonus point, Buckingham remain top of the league.
The Foxes are tied in second place on points but below Kenilworth Women on both bonus points and points difference.
With the top four teams closely tied, the league title is still up for grabs for one of them, although both of Bury Foxes final encounters are on the road.
* Forward of the match: Holly Fifield
* Back if the match: EJ Stearn
More by this authorHannah Dolman