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Cambridgeshire make history by winning Tri-Counties Women’s Championship crown

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Cambridgeshire women's team pictured before their win over Norfolk in January. Picture: Steve Wells
Cambridgeshire women's team pictured before their win over Norfolk in January. Picture: Steve Wells

Anna Stodter was proud to see practice make perfect as Cambridgeshire wrapped up a maiden Tri-Counties Women’s Championship title thanks to a 19-0 win over Suffolk at Bury St Edmunds.

Cambs beat Norfolk 20-19 at Shelford last month and were able to build on that success as tries from Kate Marks, Maggie Simpson and Rose Bradshaw, and conversions from Jess Norris saw them defeat Suffolk.

Given that it was their second win in the competition, which is being held for a first time, it meant Cambs were the inaugural winners of the championship.

“It was a good win for us, I was very pleased,” said Cambs head coach Stodter.

“It was our second game and I think we benefited from having played the previous game against Norfolk because we could build on that. I was really proud of everyone for putting into practice things we talked about doing on the pitch, so it was very pleasing.”

Suffolk featured many players from Bury Foxes, who Stodter also plays for in the National Midlands Two. There were also players from Ipswich.

“We had to play well and be well organised to beat them, and we managed to prevent them from scoring as well,” she said.

“I’ve been playing a bit of rugby at Bury St Edmunds as well so there is a bit of extra pride added into it.

“We identified things that we wanted to do in the match, and the players did that and they looked like a cohesive team which is good because it’s a new combination from a couple of different teams.”

Stodter admitted that the performance was the main focus, and so when it was pointed out after the game that Cambs had won the championship, despite Suffolk still having to play Norfolk, it proved to be a pleasant surprise.

“I was just more interested in getting the game played and focusing on how we were going to perform, so it’s really good to make history with winning the first one,” she said.

“We had an all-women coaching and physio team as well, so that was pretty cool to be part of that.”

There is hope that the win can increase publicity for the side.

Stodter added: “Hopefully the word will spread a bit and there is a bit more awareness that this is a new tournament that will happen again and more and more players from different clubs can get involved, and we can start to give them that opportunity to play with different players and be coached by different coaches and just give more rugby experiences. And have fun while doing it hopefully.”

Cambridgeshire XV: Maggie Simpson; Lauren Poppitt, Jessica Norris, Leanne Robinson, Siobhan Pebody; Charlotte Gisbourne, Kate Marks; Fabia Howell, Saffron Hicks, Emily Hogg, Abbie Macmillan-Jones, Rose Scowen, Ella Duffy, Lesley Ming, Rose Bradshaw. Replacements; Vianney Gomezgill, Gwen James, Miriam Woods, Verena Zyka, Niamh Finlayson, Emily Bell, Amy Chodorowski.

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