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Last Sunday the Green Army made the long journey over to Cupar to take on Howe of Fife. The previous meeting ended with a closely matched 17-12 victory to Oban, and both teams have been swapping top position in the league recently so the ladies were expecting a tough game. Unfortunately, they mustered just 12 players, including only three backs, whereas Howe of Fife had the advantage of a full squad plus four substitutes to choose from.
With so many players playing out of position, including two forwards playing in the centres, it did take a while for the Oban ladies to settle into the match. However, they were rewarded for their efforts with the opening points after less than five minutes, thanks to winger Rachel MacDonald’s try.
Unfortunately, these were the only points Oban were able to obtain for the remainder of the game. Howe of Fife used their speed and strong backs to outplay Oban, with many a try coming from using the width of the pitch to their advantage.
The host team’s back line was far more well-rehearsed and, unfortunately, the Green Army ladies found themselves drawn into playing the opposition’s game. This resulted in them being driven off the rucks and outrun on the wings time and time again, finding themselves 59-5 down at the half-time whistle.
As the first half came towards an end, Oban started to get back to their own strategies, putting the power of their forwards pack to better use, and competing for the ball as they had travelled intending to do. New starts for the team this season, Selina Keppie and Nicole Taylor, showed great promise with some fearless tackling slowing Howe of Fife in their tracks.
As the second half played out, the Oban ladies stuck to their own game plan, using the forwards more. However, the opposition continued to use their strong back line, and Oban was simply lacking the pace required to defend.
Unfortunately, scrum-half Lucy Stewart, an integral part of the team since she joined at the beginning of the season, went off part way through the second half so the team was down to 11 players. Now missing their regular scrum-half and stand-off due to injury, the ladies struggled to keep Howe of Fife at bay and, following a further injury, Oban found themselves down to only 10 players. Howe of Fife continued to play with 12 and unsurprisingly dominated the remainder of the game.
The girls, who have finished all their home fixtures for the season, will travel to Annan on April 2 for their next fixture, which is set to be a grudge match after one win apiece at their previous meetings this season for the league and bowl.