On the back of being crowned AoC South East Regional 7s Champions, Worthing were looking to win back to back titles at Reigate 7s.
With a few players out due to the Academy weekend and other sporting commitments, Worthing still had a strong line up. With Charlotte Williams coming into the front row, along with top try scorer for the season Maddy Burnage in at centre.
The tournament consisted of two pools of 4 teams, with a round robin group stage, with the top two going into the main competition and the others into a plate. Worthing and Filton, the top two forms sides coming into the competition, were on different sides of the draw, and could only meet in the final.
Worthing started the day against Christ Hospital, a well-established side in Sussex, with some history of competitive games between them. The Worthing girls were first out of the blocks with a long kick deep into the Christ Hospital’s half, with the resulting Worthing girls putting pressure on their lineout. Some neat handling from Elise Piggott, put Maddy Burnage, through the middle to score under the posts. Worthing for the next couple of minutes were camped on the Christ Hospital line, however a break away from the opposition meant a certain score, however Alice Hagan dived on the players heels, to send her out into touch, with a resulting half time whistle. The 2nd half followed very much the 1st, with a lot of pressure from Worthing, however the Christ Hospital girls scored first, making it 5-5 with 3 minutes to go. Up stepped new recruit Jasmine Spalding, who shrugged off one invading defender to run in a 70m score to make the score 10-5. Worthing then held out to secure a hard fought win.
The next two games gave Worthing an opportunity to try some of the new recruits who are on the verge of AASE standard. The first game against Pangbourne, saw an outstanding all round display from Captain Ashleigh Smith, who for her hardwork got a try and conversion, with the team finishing 29-5. The next game was against Reigate B, where Worthing started with 6 complete new girls, with the team being captained by Maddy Burnage. Chanel Jackmanhills took this opportunity to switch on the tackling button, where she showcased some hard hits which meant the girls were dominating in every area. The result finished with 27-5 win, with a semi final against Reigate A, who finished 2nd to Filton in the other group.
In a packed arena with the majority of the spectators supporting the home side, Worthing started the strongest with early scores from Maddy Burnage and Alice Hagan who coasted pass her defender to score on the outside. Reigate struck next with a break away try, which kept the Reigate fans happy, however their enjoyment was muted again, when Worthing scored a further 3 answered tries, which set up an expected final against fellow AASE centre Filton, with both the sides winning against each other further in the year, and one draw.
The final was a great advert for 7s rugby, where both the defences held strong in the first few minutes. Worthing were first to break the deadlock with a break down the outside by Alice Hagan to score near the posts, however the conversion was missed, which meant that Worthing had to really score again to keep the pressure on. In a carbon copy of the first try Maddy Burnage again put Alice down the wing, to make the score 10-0 before the half time whistle. The Worthing girls knew if they could keep strong in defence they would have this game wrapped up, however, Filton came out the strongest in the 2nd half, with a break, through the middle, to score a converted try making the game 10-7 with only a minute to go. Filton took the resulting kickoff securing the ball to remain in attack however some great choke tackling from Ashleigh Smith, meant Worthing had a resulting scrum, where the final whistle was blown.
AASE lead coach Mark Rugman was extremely pleased with the girls performance. “To put together five excellent performance, but still develop a number of new girls, shows the adaptability and progress for a number of the players involved. The game against Filton could of gone in any direction, and credit goes to the girls who showed an outstanding defensive display. The current crop of players have some real potential in the 7s game, and I look forward to the rest of the season”.