Four-try Jess debuts in style

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West Norfolk Warriors returned to winning ways at Kesteven in only their second game of 2024.With many players unavailable, the team welcomed back Ellen Page and Charlotte Wales, two West Norfolk stalwarts, and also played a host of new, young players in different positions.Warriors started strongly, winning three scrums against the head in quick succession.A blood replacement saw the introduction of Jess Milnes, debuting for the women, who immediately made an impact by beating four players to run in her first senior try under the posts, with scrum-half Tiff Turner converting.More fast hands and constant pressure from West led to another try, out wide, from prop Cora Hunter with one of her trademark runs.Kesteven’s rallied, taking the battle to their visitors in the centre channels and pressuring West into conceding multiple penalties before scoring under the posts.Warriors bounced back, shifting the ball from one flank to the other with Georgie Lingham and Sarah Hodgson making impactful line breaks.The forwards won more scrums to give the backs perfect platforms to execute their training-ground moves, one of them resulting in another try for Milnes, converted by Jade Nicholson.Kesteven scored once more, and then managed to resist more pressure from West to go in 10-19 at half-time.Kesteven started the second half strongly, recycling the ball well, but West’s defence held strong with Rosie Lingham hitting every breakdown and sister Georgie kicking the ball downfield out of danger multiple times.Warriors forwards put their bodies on the line, but a blood injury to Wales and penalties given against Warriors led to a period of unsettled play and ultimately another try for Kesteven.The visitors went back to basics, running well-practiced moves off set pieces and starting to turn the pressure back on Kesteven.Still moving the ball well, the support runs and offloads got West back into try-scoring territory, but an injury to new scrum-half Tally Reed lead to more disruption for West.Aaliyah Featherby came on and announced her presence with a crunching tackle, turning over the ball to Warriors, which Georgie Lingham pounced on and offloaded to Milnes who ran in her third try, again converted by Nicholson.Kesteven refused to give up and an individual try by their captain gave their team and their vocal supporters some fire in their bellies.An injury to Nicholson saw the ever-reliable Megan Burroughs move to full-back and Ellen Page come off the retirement bench and immediately tackle her opposite winger into touch.Scrappy play from both teams lead to handling errors and penalties from each side, had the game going end to end.But once more, Warriors captain, EJ Watson, settled the team and her forwards gave West another solid scrum in an attacking position, and Jess Milnes struck again for her fourth try.A final try from Kesteven gave them a losing bonus point and try bonus but the long-awaited win belonged to West.Coach Jane Middleton-Jones said: “Every player put their heart and soul into that game, never once did they drop the energy and commitment.”It was hard to select Players-of-the-Match as they were all outstanding, but I think we have just witnessed something very special there with Jess.”Forward-of-the-Match: Rosie Lingham.Back-of-the-Match: Jess Milnes.Next Game is at home to Kesteven on Sunday, March 17.

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