Ambitious Foxes planning Malta tour

RUGBY: Fakenham Foxes women’s rugby team are going international.

They have organised a tour to Malta at the end of March with one Saturday match and a Sunday tournament, writes Peter Bird.

Taking this step in only their second competitive season is a first small move by a team that want to see just how far application and dedication can take them in the sport in the years to come.

The team was re-formed in 2008/9 to play a season of friendlies before entering the field of competitive rugby last year in the RFU’s Women’s Eastern Region South Three Division.It is showing much-improved form this year.

They continue to be equal top with Chelmsford, the division’s strongest team, despite losing to them at home on Sunday 24-7 in a match shortened by a serious injury.

Last year they lost more matches than they won but this year it is a 50-50 equation so far, which they hope will improve when they play their remaining two matches against Peterborough and Leighton Buzzard – teams they have already beaten this season.

“Our ambition now is to end as runners-up,” said captain Mandy Warren.

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The Foxes expect their improvement to continue because of their dedication to training under coach Rex Hargrave. They trained all though last summer and did not even slack off over the Christmas period in case it caused a loss of momentum and drive.

“We now have experience and structure in our game which was lacking last season. The commitment level is excellent as we want to improve and compete at a higher level.

“Our ambition is to win the division next year. Last season we could not even complete at our present level but all the hard work is finally playing off,” said Warren.

Fakenham Foxes 7, Chelmsford 24

IN a top-of-the-table clash, Chelmsford settled immediately and scored an early try from a scrum close to the Foxes’ line.

The Foxes came back at Chelmsford but the visitors had an answer to all their moves and attacks.

The Foxes tackled hard and defended well but Chelmsford were so quick in defence the Foxes did not have room to play.

The experience of the Chelmsford backs allowed them freedom to move the ball quickly and score again before half-time to give them a 10-0 lead.

The Foxes played better in the second half but Chelmsford’s speed led to another two tries, both converted.

The Foxes reshuffled positions, determined to get something out of the game. They started to make the right decisions and made clear calls. Sarah Wheelhouse kicked to touch twice and made ground for Sandie Toher to steal possession in the line-out.

Chelmsford passed the ball near to their try-line and Hannah White made a perfectly-timed interception to break through and score, Sarah Wheelhouse converting.

The Foxes pressured hard and Chelmsford started making mistakes. The Foxes realised they had left it too late to win but were hungry for more tries. However, the game was stopped seven minutes early due to a Chelmsford injury.

Players-of-the-match: Hazel Bridges and Amber Wadlow.