Rugby Union

UoN Women’s Rugby Union seal Nottingham Varsity Series victory for the Green and Gold

Scenes of ecstasy for the Green and Gold were triggered at Lady Bay as the University of Nottingham (UoN) Women’s Rugby Team clinched the Nottingham Varsity Series 2017 victory for UoN in spectacular fashion, with an emphatic 21-7 triumph.

The score before the start of play at Lady Bay was 11-8 in favour of UoN. With 23 points up for grabs across the whole series, a 12 point total was needed for the University of Nottingham to not only retain the series, but also win it for a sixth year in a row. That total was met on the final day of the Series with the women defeating Trent to make it 12-8 and NTU defeating the UoN Men’s Rugby Union side later in the day by 34-13.

Head to Head

UoNWRFC went into the match having won eight of their ten league matches this season in BUCS Midlands 1A, accumulating a whopping 254 points difference and finishing second in their league. Meanwhile, NTU Women’s Rugby won their division and defeated UoNWRFC 2’s along the way, although they are a division below the University of Nottingham first team. Last year the encounter finished 20-10 and the ladies in Green and Gold were hoping for a similarly comfortable display this time around.

The match

The crowds began to flood in at Lady Bay as the atmosphere reached boiling point when both teams walked out onto the pitch, with the respective UoN and NTU supporters hurling verbal abuse at one another in typical varsity fashion.

The match began frantically as Nottingham Trent applied the early pressure and were dominant in the opening exchanges. A superb Ellie Hind tackle for UoN stopped Trent’s Lizzy Read on the breakaway as she capitalised on some careless passing from the Green and Gold.

It wasn’t long until the opposition took the lead, UoN held off Trent with countless rucks and tackles, from  Jodie Dimmock (flanker) and  Siobhan Foden (lock) in particular, but Shannon Finnegan (inside centre) nevertheless eventually dived over for NTU, making the score 0-7 to Trent after the try was converted by Louisa Burgham.

After some further Trent pressing, UoNWRFC’s Holly Jackson made a twenty yard dart towards the line after the ball was turned over for the green and gold, with Trent’s back line all at sea and unable to cope with her pace. The trusty boot of Dimmock completed the conversion to bring UoN back on level terms.

The Varsity winners to-be now had the momentum. After sustained pressure from UoN, full back Ellie Harris dived over the line after holding off the Trent left centre Lizzy Read, following a wonderful 10-yard pass by Siobhan Foden over a collection of pink players. Dimmock again converted to make it 14-7.

The green and gold then has a slice of good fortune when Trent fly half Louisa Burgham ran 30 yards to the line after a misplaced UoN pass which was plucked from the air by NTU’s Sophie Heather, yet the try was called back for offside.

Half time: UoN 14-7 NTU

UoN reasserted their control and showed a level of quality emblematic of the team’s league position in BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport). Powerhouse Siobhan Foden was responsible for drives through the centre, causing Trent all sorts of problems, and Ella Whitehouse (outside centre) put in numerous last-ditch tackles to keep NTU at bay.

The pair then combined to consolidate the University of Nottingham’s lead. Another surge from Foden saw her breakaway at pace, she released the ball to Whitehouse and Whitehouse dived over the line coming around the outside to make it 19-7 to the girls in green and gold.

Dimmock made it three conversions out of three, continuing her impeccable kicking record, making the scores 21-7. She was responsible, along with captain Aoife Fehilly, for resisting late pressure from the opposition in the form of scrummages and laboured sideways passing, without pace which amounted to little as UoN held on to retain their title and clinch the series overall for the university.

Full time: UoN 21-7 NTU

(University of Nottingham win the Nottingham Varsity Series with the score at 12-8)

Captain Aoife Fehilly and vice captain Dom Ellis told Impact after the match, “were absolutely ecstatic, it’s the cherry on top of a fantastic season and we all wanted it so badly and its come together today.

“The team has really gelled over the course of the season and there’s an immense team spirit. We saw that last term down in Bath with our cup victory against Birmingham. Unfortunately we didn’t win down there but we’ve gone and put that right today.”

Coach of the women’s rugby team Head Coach Trevor Goddard declared his pride after the victory: “It’s not just about the girls on the pitch it’s symbolic of their efforts over the course of the season. They all played out of their skins today it was a real team effort.

“If I was to pick out a stand out performer I thought Amy Gould had a fantastic game and has really progressed since coming up from the twos. The club as a whole gel so well together and that really emerges on the pitch.”

UoNWRFC jubilant after the final whistle

The 21-7 victory, and the fact that the win meant UoN secured the Varsity win as well, is fantastic for such a growing and consistently performing club at the university. Their fantastic season and Varsity victory is testament to the endeavour and team spirit that has been shown among the ladies in green and gold.

Starting line ups:

1. Hollie Weston
2. Nessa Hadley
3. Amelia Cole
4. Tian Figg
5. Candice Barritt
6. Becky Pinell
:7. Becky Noon
8. Lauren Clayton
9. Mazie Morgan
10. Louisa Burgham
11. Emily Drague
12. Shannon Finnegan
13. Lizzy Read
14. Maisie Fabrini
15. Lauren Patterson
1. Amy Gould
2. Holly Jackson
3. Laura Halford
4. Lucy Rudd
5. Siobhan Foden
6. Jodie Dimmock
7. Aoife Fehilly (C)
8. Lucy Bon
9. Juliet Porter
10. Dom Ellis
11. Ellie Hind
12. Bethan Jones
13. Ella Whitehouse
14. Lily Jones
15. Ellie Harris


Joe Tanner

Follow @ImpactVarsity17 in Twitter and Like Impact Sport on Facebook. Check out all previews and match reports from the Nottingham Varsity Series 2017 in the sport section of the Impact website.

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