SHROUDED in mist and drenched in mud, a large crowd gathered at the heart of Falmouth to cheer on a powerful group of women on a Sunday mission to win their first-ever rugby match, writes Danny Trick.

These were not your ordinary warriors, but rather inner warriors – the Eagles Women XV who harnessed the strength within themselves to overcome a strong Kingsbridge Ladies side, and snatch a morale-boosting win in only their third-ever game. 

As the rain poured down relentlessly and the mist enveloped the Rec, both sides were eager to get this women's inner warrior series going, and opted to kick off ten minutes earlier than scheduled. 

It was after eight minutes of play in the middle of the park when Kingsbridge, off the top of a lineout, found their fullback captain Hayley Hopkins who powered her way through, slicing the Falmouth defence, to go untouched under the post for her first try. The conversion hit the upright and fell just the wrong side of the crossbar. 0-5

Relieved and undeterred, the Eagles pack set to work edging their way into the opposition's twenty-two, with Hedge Steven's carrying well through well-orchestrated short passes by Georgia Sanders playing at scrum half. 

Eventually, it was as simple as a weak line drop-out grubber, failing to clear the Kingsbridge lines that united the Falmouth women as they swooped onto the ball just five meters from the try line to set up a crucial ruck. Georgia Sanders then unleashed Lydia Hawkins who soared over the line just to the right of the posts. The conversion was missed. 5-5, game on.

It was the standout Kingsbridge fullback again who showed experience and stood tall with unwavering determination in both defence and attack for sustained periods. And it came as no surprise to the crowd that a failed kick to touch (Falmouth this time requiring a solid boot), found Hopkins who collected with open arms just outside Falmouth's own twenty-two, and then showed great explosive power to go in untouched for Kingsbridge's second. Hopkins converted from just left of the uprights. 5-12

The rain could not dampen the Eagle's spirits, however. The Falmouth warriors nodded to each other, their eyes now gleaming with a mixture of excitement and trepidation, yet with a smile on their faces, and set to work with captain Lydia Hawkins leading the way, with treacherous runs, steadily making the hard yards at centre.

As the team again edged closer into Kingsbridge territory it was Cassandra Callihan who showed a good pair of heels, showing a cheeky dummy that enabled her to dart in from twenty metres. The conversion was missed. 10-12 at the midpoint.

Falmouth were now starting to dominate proceedings, but the Kingsbridge fullback refused to let it extinguish her team's hopes and raced sixty meters on a solo effort for her third against the run of play. The conversion was missed. 10-17

The Eagles trusting their instincts collectively fought back with unwavering conviction, with notable performances by Georgia Sanders and Cassandra Callihan, who put in the hard yards all game to gain the team valuable territory.

Sustained Falmouth pressure was now starting to show cracks in the Kingsbridge armour and it wasn't long before a passionate Kingsbridge player was yellow-carded for dissent.

Moments later from a quick tap penalty, a scrambling Kingsbridge player was lucky to escape sanction from the referee, as she took winger Mariella Childe around the neck in the act of scoring out wide. The conversion was missed and the crowd were wishing it had been a penalty try to level the score in this now evenly-matched game. 15-17

Now with every step the Falmouth Women took, the mist began to dissipate, revealing a glimmer of hope as the clock wound down. Lydia Hawkins on a strong arching line broke free on the halfway line to power through the defence and score under the posts taking the lead for the first time. The conversion was missed. 20-17

As the final minutes of play unfolded, the suspense was building at the Rec. Kingsbridge came back yet again, outstretching a now tired Falmouth defence, to score out wide much to their jubilation, the conversion was missed. 20-22.

Unshackled with hearts full of triumph, the Eagles were not ready to concede and from the kick-off, returned again with hard lines penetrating the Kingsbridge defence. A series of high tackles and infringements in the loose, led to quick penalty taps and much-needed possession to mount one final Falmouth attack.

Edging ever closer, the crowd erupted with delight as vice-captain, Emma Parkman, received a short pass to use her power to make the whitewash through the heart of the Kingsbridge forwards, ensuring a well-deserved historic first win for the Eagles Women XV. The Final score 25-22

If you would like to join the Eagles Women XV, training takes place at Falmouth Rugby Club on Thursday evenings from 7pm.

This Saturday, December 2, sees the Eagles 2XV at home to St Austell Spartans III kicking off at 14:30pm, and the Eagles 1XV on the road to Wiveliscombe.