Scorpions pull together

Folkestone 7 Ipswich Scorpions 17IPSWICH Scorpions women's rugby team tackled their way to a vital away victory over a dangerous Folkestone XV to climb to fifth in National League One South East on Sunday.

Folkestone 7 Ipswich Scorpions 17

IPSWICH Scorpions women's rugby team tackled their way to a vital away victory over a dangerous Folkestone XV to climb to fifth in National League One South East on Sunday.

Two consecutive victories have set the stage for an epic battle against table-topping Blackheath, who remain unbeaten after recording a 25-0 win over Harlequins and visit Ipswich on November 20th.

Both teams will see each other in action at the Boudicca Cup tournament at Ipswich Rugby Club this Sunday, with Ipswich playing in the tens tournament and Blackheath featured in the 15s section.

A long trip in the rain set the scene for an uphill battle but Ipswich were on the scoresheet within minutes of the kick-off; a textbook through-the-hands attack leaving space for Emma Johnson to weave around her opposite winger to score. Nuggetty flyhalf Vicky Archer added the two point conversion with technical precision.

With three 17-year-old debutantes, the Scorpions were fielding their fifth consecutive new-look XV and the home side took advantage of the learning curve when they worked upfield to score under the posts, converting to bring the scores level.

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Folkestone's set piece work stifled a lot of Ipswich's ball presentation, with scrum half Pippa Marshall having to feed a talented backline on the back foot and vice-captain Mary Hickey having to clean up messy ball at the base of the scrum.

Ipswich used the strong first-half wind to gain territorial advantage with Archer and Emily-Jayne Stearn placing pin-point kicks down to the right-hand corner flag and finally the visitors earned a penalty which the determined Archer kicked to give the Scorpions in important 10-7 lead going into halftime.

Ipswich's tackle practice over the previous week paid dividends in the second-half as they shut the home side out of contention with a constant and appropriately water-tight defence, player-of-the-match Sarah Jaye in particular running up an impressive tally of tackles behind the gain line.

Ipswich's forwards grabbed the game by the throat and ground down the tenacious Folkestone pack and soon the home defence was sufficiently undone for the unstoppable Stearn to swat off four tacklers and race through to score under the posts. Archer kept her 100% kicking record with the conversion and Ipswich had a ten-point cushion.

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