BASINGSTOKE RFC Ladies played their first league game for a number of years on Sunday, as they welcomed Marlow for an Area Two Merit fixture.

For the majority of the Stoke side this was their first game of rugby, while Marlow are an experienced side who have been together for some years.

So it was no surprise they started very strongly running over several tries in the first 20 minutes as the ‘Stoke girls got used to the physicality and intensity.

Basingstoke were working hard, putting together some strong runs, no 8 Emily Richardson made some great line breaks, allowing the Stoke's backline to get some good ball and make some ground.

Marlow were very strong, particularly in the set piece, with some big strike runners causing all sorts of issues and they finished the half 20 points up.

Stoke regrouped in the second half and settled down, focusing on their own game plan, well marshalled by skipper and scrum half Sheree Cooper.

Plenty of ball was to be had as the home scrum began to dominate the opposition, hooker Nikki Strike in her first game in the two shirt, stole several balls against the head.

A series of drives from the forwards and some flowing backs play saw a scrum for ‘Stoke on the opposition 10 metre line and number nine Sheree Cooper picked the ball out the back and offloaded to Jade Ashford who powered over the line for a score.

After this the Stoke Ladies played some great rugby, Michelle Pickard at 10 distributing the ball well amongst the backs.

Strong pressure from home side saw a penalty just inside the Marlow half, lock Spuddy Pearce making a great run, supported well by forwards.

Clare Kelly then passing the ball to Pickard who threw a great pass to Amy Robson who made a storming run shaking off several tackles before putting in Emma Horner in for a superb score in the corner.

Marlow grabbed a couple of opportunistic scores, but Stoke finished the stronger, really moving the ball well.

Wingers Poynter and Eckett making some great runs and in the Zoe Semmens, Annie McMullan and Hannah Pulleyn were throwing themselves into every tackle and breakdown as Stoke pressed hard for a third score. However this was not to be and the game ended with a 35-10 win for Marlow.

Stoke Coach Steve Parker said: “That was a great game to watch, most of these girls have never played a proper game before, they’ve worked really hard in training and you could see that on the pitch.

"We definitely edged the second half and finished the stronger. The experience today will give them all that belief that they can do it and they are all buzzing. Thanks also to everyone who came down today and offered their support, it was great to see a big crowd."

Next up for the Ladies is a visit to Trojans II on Sunday October 30.

The Ladies train on Wednesday evenings 7pm to 8.30pm and all standards of players are welcome to come along and join in.