A NEW-look Basingstoke Ladies rugby team featuring no fewer than six debutants were beaten by a formidable Dorking side in their opening match of the season on Sunday, September 24.

Despite the result, the team returned from Dorking with their heads high after a strong display of their resilience.

Three of the players in Basingstoke team were playing in their first ever rugby game.

Last season, the Basingstoke side struggled to field a team of 15, and had to resort to combining players with other clubs.

After some diligent recruiting and some fun keep fit and conditioning training over the summer, numbers have grown brilliantly.

By contrast, a strong Dorking side played their second season as a full squad and their fourth game of this season.

They quickly took control of the game, mainly by spinning the ball wide to an athletic number 13 who scored the majority of the home team’s twelve tries.

Basingstoke were forced to match the tempo of the game in what would prove to be a physical encounter.

The forwards made some strong carries and had a solid scrum base.

Debutant but experienced front row, Elizabeth, took the lead with some of those carries and showed the way with her strong tackling, resulting in achieving ‘forward of the match’.

Despite the regular scoring of the home side, the Basingstoke players’ heads never went down.

In the second half, after some great go forward and support work from the team, open-side flanker, April, scored under the posts which was quickly converted by scrum half, Jess.

Sam, who had never played a game before, was a revelation with her amazing tackles and strong carries and running.

Although she finished the match early, having sustained a leg injury, she was rightly awarded ‘back of the match’.

Every player in the squad must be congratulated for sticking at what wasn't an easy first game to play.

The team will settle and get stronger as illustrated by the second half as they just got better and better, with Dorking being limited in their try scoring.

Final score: Dorking Ladies 76, Basingstoke Ladies 7