Win boost for Fakenham Foxes

A 20-5 win last Sunday for Fakenham Foxes women's team in a friendly match against Wymondham was an upbeat moment in a season which has seen them exposed to the harsh experience of competitive league rugby for the first time.

A 20-5 win last Sunday for Fakenham Foxes women's team in a friendly match against Wymondham was an upbeat moment in a season which has seen them exposed to the harsh experience of competitive league rugby for the first time.

Their first season in the RFU's National Challenge South-Eastern League was a bit like the curate's egg - good in parts - with an end-of-term report that said they learned quickly and should do better next winter. They are an ambitious team and their baptism of fire was as one of only two clubs in Norfolk to venture into the world of league rugby - the other being Lakenham Hewett. This was a major step-up for Foxes, who have only been playing together for three years.

All that is left now is their final league match against Market Deeping next weekend before they get down to assessing their progress. They began the season last October by losing their first away game by a massive 58-0 to Southwold, but that chastening experience helped them produce a much more competitive game, for they only narrowly lost 10-8 to Chelmsford a fortnight later, since when see-sawing results have left them in a midway position in the league.

It was not a winter to give them the best start in competitive rugby. The worst bad weather since the early 80s often made conditions unplayable and caused postponements, which meant they ended up playing back-to-back matches towards the end of the season. This left little time for injured players to recover in a side with few reserves, and the results may have suffered because of it.


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'It was a tough first year, but I am very proud of the Foxes for their hard work, determination and above all their team spirit,' said captain Mandy Warren. 'It has been a steep learning curve but the match experience has been invaluable.'

They continually analysed their performances after each match, leading to different game plans, but one weakness could not be hidden. 'We have battled on with mainly forwards against teams with experienced backs who exploited this weakness,' said Warren. two backs will be returning to the side next season, and several new members should hopefully remove that imbalance.'

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Their lack of available players was exacerbated by members coming and going for reasons such as pregnancy, armed forces postings, and those going on to university, which did not help them establish a settled team.

'I am confident we will be better able to complete on level terms next winter. We've been given a taste of competitive rugby and we thoroughly enjoyed it,' said Warren.

Such is their keenness that the club plans to train every Wednesday at 6.45pm throughout the summer at the Fakenham rugby ground. More details of the club can be found on their website www.fakenhamrugby.com, or by telephoning Mandy Warren on 07730 877 072.

Dereham and Fakenham both remain rooted to the bottom of their respective divisions after defeats on Saturday.

Fakenham were beaten 42-5 at Ely in Eastern Counties Division One, while Dereham went down 37-19 at home to Lakenham Hewett in Division Two.

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