Wales Secure Win as UK Armed Forces' Women Battle to the End
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The Women's 2017 Remembrance Match, held once more at Cardiff Arms Park proved to be another victory for Wales but only after another enthralling game which highlighted just how vibrant the women's game is some 100 years after the same venue hosted the first ever UK women's match.
UKAF captain, Sian William, led her side out, and the pre match preliminaries allowed sombre reflection as players, officials and spectators took time to remember those who gave their all in sacrifice to their country. The match raises funds for the Royal British Legion and their Live On campaign as they continue to support service men and women, who have suffered in the line of duty.
It was UKAF who started the game more brightly and soon had Wales under pressure, strong ball carrying from the forwards, with Alex Hardy, Sian Williams, Amy Cokayne and Sarah Batley all to the fore allowed scrum half Lucy Nye to control the game from the front foot. However though they went close they couldn't find away through the Wales defence and following turnover ball it was Wales who opened the scoring. Good work at the breakdown secured the turnover and quick hands gave left wing Jess WIlliams the room to go in at the corner.
The score lifted Wales and two further tries put them in command of the match but UKAF received a much needed boost when outside centre carved a sublime line to open the defence and go under the posts for a great individual try. Flyhalf Gemma Rowlands added the conversion and at half time Wales led 17-7.
The second half was largely controlled by Wales who retained possession for long periods and entertained the vocal crowd with some flowing rugby. With their forwards winning the battle at the breakdown they were able to launch multi phase attacks at UKAF as they looked to extend their lead. Despite some fierce and committed defence, from UKAF, it was only going to be a matter of time before the pressure told.
With two further tries they increased their lead to 29-7 before UKAF's hard working prop, Sarah Batley, crashed over from short range, to give the way side the faintest glimmer of hope. However Wales showed a ruthless streak with two more tries before UKAF Women scored through the last play of the game as Amy Cokayne broke the tackle and had the pace to out flank the home defence and cross in the right hand corner. FInal score 39-17
All images Copyright Alligin Photography / © Neil Kennedy & © Geraint Ashton Jones Words by Geraint Ashton Jones