Under ominous, windswept skies, the two Northern clubs in the Tyrells Premier 15s kicked off. Firwood Waterloo kicked deep into the opposition 22 and had the visitors under pressure until they gave away a penalty, giving DMP chance to clear their lines.
Neither side managed to create any dominance during the opening exchanges although the home side shaded the territory battle. DMP built some pressure in the Firwood Waterloo half and Claire Hutchinson was penalised for tripping a player as she slipped, and Firwood Waterloo were reduced to 14 players for the following 10 minutes.
The visitors took heart from the extra player and broke through the line, and even though Firwood Waterloo produced some excellent last-ditch tackling, George Roberts powered through from short range to score next to the posts and the conversion was duly added.
The first half continued in a similar vein to the early stages, as Firwood Waterloo returned to a full compliment. The half ended Firwood Waterloo 0-7 DMP Sharks.
DMP kicked off the second half and Firwood Waterloo moved the ball downfield. DMP then conceded a penalty that was kicked deep into the home 22. Firwood Waterloo maintained good pressure and drove towards the DMP line – Serena Brymer crashed over for the opening score of the half.
The resulting conversion was missed. 5-7
Firwood Waterloo returned quickly to the opposition 22 and forced a penalty. Bethany Stott stepped up in front of the posts to kick the three points but found the upright and the ball bounced back into play. The visitors couldn’t collect cleanly and knocked on – from the resulting scrum the whole back line moved it wide for full-back Vanessa Temple to scoot in wide out.
The conversion was missed. Firwood Waterloo 10 – 5 Sharks
From the restart, Freya Hellin collected the ball and carried aggressively, and again DMP found themselves pinned back by a deep raking kick from the home stand-off. Firwood Waterloo continued to pressure DMP and the visitors struggles to gain any kind of foothold in the Firwood Waterloo half. The visitors made a rare incursion into the Firwood Waterloo half, only for the home side to move the ball effectively and see Vanessa Temple slice through the defensive line and outpace the pursuing defence to score Firwood Waterloo’s third try. Once again, the change of the extra points was spurned.
Firwood Waterloo were now chasing the bonus point try, and the visitors were fighting to close the gap. Again, Friwood Waterloo pushed DMP back into their 22 from where the visitors made a mistake to give the now dominant Firwood Waterloo pack a 5-metre scrum. This was an opportunity that they were not going to waste. A strong drive saw the DMP pack pushed into reverse gear and Beth Stafford, now at number 8, was rewarded with a try at the base.
Beth Stott converted. 22-7
DMP continued to work, and from a line break in the final minute they established a position in the Firwood Waterloo 22. Firwood Waterloo ill-discipline and great tenacity from the visitors saw El Bloor sneak over wide out. The conversion was added, and the referee blew the final whistle. 22-14