IT was a case of after the lord mayor’s show for GLR in the shadow of Windsor Castle where sits Windsor Rugby Club.
The week after GLR produced arguably one of its best ever showings to overwhelm Havant, they were brought back to earth with this six-point reverse badly affected by a gale force wind that blew hard across a very open pitch.
The previous meeting had seen Guernsey come out on top 15-6 in a hard-fought game. The Dames were looking for revenge, with a full bench of replacements and on home soil they had the advantage.
Hit by a speight of injuries following the brutal Havant game the week before, that can only be likened to some of the selection issues faced by the GLR, GLR travelled without scrum half Lucy Pratt ,out with a hip injury, and injuries to Megan Irven and Asha Holberry meant that the ladies would be travelling short, bench wise and several changes would be needed in the pack and back line.
Jillian Smith came in at 2, usual hooker Michelle Schofield into the back row, Jessica Melville moved from No.8 to the outside centre and Fiona Power slipped on her No.8 shirt.
The back line all moved in one place to make room for Jessica , which now saw Justeen Baker return to scrum half, Vicki Rang move into fly-half and Sophie Ferbrache to inside centre. Thankfully the back 3 of Duchemin, Le Bachelet and Hollingworth remained unchanged.
The game started well with GLR taking it to the Dames and strong runs from Melville and Duchemin kept the pressure on. However, the Dames fly-half used the wind advantage to push Guernsey back into their own 22m.
A knock-on from Windsor led to the first scrum of the game. The clearance kick was charged down and the Windsor flanker touch down for an unconverted try: 5-0.
GLR went straight back to work and continued to pressure the Windsor line with some great runs by Tanya Scholtz and Laura ‘Bulldozer’ Sweeney. Backed up by skipper Ellie Whittles and ‘Beast from the East’ Kristine Vavere, who by the end of the game had a face that looked like she had gone 15 rounds with Mike Tyson!
Sadly, during these early exchanges GLR lost prop Andrea Harris to a leg injury. Enter the fray Janelly Le Maitre a little sooner than originally planned and little chance of giving anyone a rest.
Constant pressure by GLR kept the Dames in their own half for long periods of time and only some great foraging work by their young centre at the breakdown stopped GLR from scoring. However, Duchemin eventually found some space on the left and broke the Dame’s line to score a converted try: 5-7 HT.
The second half started in much the same vain, pressure by GLR, Dames kick to relieve pressure. Power runner Aimee Le Bachelet had a frustrating afternoon as the Dames right wing and full back closed her down quickly.
A few lapses of concentration cost GLR dearly and resulted in three unconverted tries for a 20-7 lead for the Dames, one of which was certainly wind assisted.
Time to ring the changes, in playing style and position. On came Emma Rayson ‘Poster Girl’ of the 2010 Siam Cup winning team into the second row, Scholtz to No.8 and Power out to join Melville in the centres with very clear direction to take it to them.
Suddenly, the Dames were in a state of shock as wave after wave of GLR attacking eventually gave some space on the fringe and Scholtz found the gap to score under the posts for a converted try and get within striking distance of the Dames at 20-14. Sadly, time beat Guernsey and the Windsor Dames took the win.
This was a fantastic game to watch in dire conditions as both teams gave their all with not a backward step given. Many thanks to all of the GLR supporters who made the journey, including GRFC Chairman Charles McHugh and the Whittles family.
The final game of the season will see GLR host Rosslyn Park Ladies on Sat 16 Mar KO 2pm.
Squad: 1. Andrea Harris 2. Jillian Smith 3. Laura Sweeney 4. Kristine Vavere 5. Ellie Whittles © 6. Tanya Scholtz 7. Michelle Schofield 8. Fiona Power 9. Justeen Baker 10. Vicki Rang 11. Aimee Le Bachelet 12. Sophie Ferbrache 13. Jessica Melville 14. Carly Duchemin 15. Lael Hollingworth.
Replacements: Janelly Le Maitre, Emma Rayson