Battling Cornwall Women go down to Hampshire



By Bill Hooper, at Polson Bridge

Under a blistering hot sun and a hard pitch, it proved not to be this season for a brave Cornwall Women’s side who found Hampshire just a little too hot to handle.

The visitors, seasoned campaigners at this level will play Eastern Counties in next Sunday’s final for the Division 2 title at Ealing Trailfinders.

Cornwall, never gave up they fought valiantly and tackled fearlessly until the final whistle, bruised and battered they showed the scars of a good fight.

Rebecca Bennett (Truro)of Cornwall Women is tackled by Lauren Gillingham (Havant) of Hampshire Women. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo

Cornwall began promisingly, a good early run from skipper Amy Bunt took the game to Hampshire, however it soon became evident that Hampshire was wise to her threat closing her down well.

Hampshire began to dominate the breakdown, and always seemed to have that extra player in support to take any offload. They began to string good phases of play with their back row of Emelia Green, Natasha Bullock and Chardonnay Wilson catching the eye with their forceful runs.

Georgia Hall (Penryn)of Cornwall Women is tackled by Emmie-Lou Cooper (Portsmouth) of Hampshire Women. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo

Cornwall did well to soak up the pressure, eventually the pressure told when prop Ash Robertson found space to charge over. Full-back Abi Pearson kicking the first of her four successful conversions.

Cornwall continued to defend well, frustrating the visitors at every turn, in the end numbers out wide saw Hampshire exploit the space allowing centre Jariya Sime to dot down a converted try.

Just before the break Hampshire lost a player to the sin-bin as Cornwall looked to cut the deficit, sadly unforced errors and the Hampshire defence denied the home side.

Caitlin Hancock (Launceston)of Cornwall Women picks up the ball and runs with it. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo

Cornwall needed to get the next score, but due to an unkind bounce, Katie Wadeson profited, whilst Cornwall got back to tackle the wing, good support play from Green saw her on-hand to score.

That was the try that sealed Cornwall’s fate. Further tries from hooker Thea Kilby, scrum-half Hannah Kemish and Wadeson put the polish on the Hampshire win.

Despite the score-line there were some very good performances from Cornish players. Mel Ruby put in some big charges, whilst in the back row Rhiannon Thomas again showed her class as did No.8 Kath Wherry.

Rhiannon Thomas (Launceston)of Cornwall Women on the charge. – Photo mandatory by-line: ©Simon Bryant/Iktis Photo

Fly-half Georgia Hall, kicked well from hand and looked to get her line going, scrum-half Amy Warman battled away and took charge when skipper Bunt had to leave the field with an injury. Bunt strong and determined in the tackle showed what an all round player she is.

At the final whistle the crowd of some 600 showed their appreciation to the players and their never-say-die attitude.

After the match coach Jo Holden was philosophical in defeat. She said. “I am incredibly proud of the squad, we have been punching above our weight at this level, today we lacked the intensity and we will learn from this. We have now seen what level we must aspire to so we can be competitive at this level, this season was a massive learning curve for us and we will come back stronger next season.

“My one disappointment was our speed around the ruck area, we were well beaten there, but we will learn from that.

“The girls love playing for Cornwall and I think despite the score-line you saw that, near the end we were pushing for a score and showed great heart, but it just wasn’t to be.”   

Cornwall Captain Amy Bunt congratulated Hampshire on their win but was also incredibly proud of her team. “Fair-play to Hampshire, but we battled well against a team drawing their side from players who play at least a couple of divisions higher than the majority of our girls. Defeat is never nice, but we will take it on the chin and go again next season and look to improve to take our game to another level

Cornwall Women: Amy Bunt (Ivybridge, Capt), Rebecca Bennett (Truro), Shannon Foster (Plymstock AO), Megan Okey (Ivybridge), Joey Sandercock (Launceston), Georgia Hall (Penryn), Amy Warman; Mel Ruby, Jenna Arnold, Kim Upcott, Megan Arnold (all Launceston), Sian Westgarth, Sam Whitfield (both Truro) Rhiannon Thomas (Launceston), Katherine Wherry (Ivybridge).

Replacements: Josie Ninnis (Penryn), Caitlin Milliken  (Camborne), Roberta Smith-Scotland (Plymstock AO), Oz Brazier (Truro), Caitlin Hancock (Launceston), Bryher Freight (Truro), Megan Tucker (Launceston).

Hampshire Women: Abi Pearson (Havant), Nina Hoadley (Ellingham & Ringwood), Jariya Sime (Havant), Samantha Wharton, Katie Wadeson (both Portsmouth), Sarah Butler (CC), Hannah Kemish (both Trojans); Keeta Rowlands (Portsmouth), Thea Kilby, Ashleigh Robertson (both Trojans), Tessa Down (Ellingham & Ringwood), Eloise Shrimpton, Natasha Bullock (CC) (both Havant), Emelia Green, Chardonnay Wilson (both Trojans).

Replacements: Ciera Forry (Portsmouth), Louise Weinfeld (Trojans), Natsha Davison (Portsmouth), Carol Tennant (Trojans), Emma Andrews (Southampton), Emmie-Lou Cooper (Portsmouth), Lauren Gillingham (Havant).

Hampshire scores: Tries, Robertson, Sime, Green, Kilby, Kemish, Wadeson, Cons, Pearson 4

(CC) = co captain

Referee: Lucy Smith (Somerset RRS)

Crowd: 600

Posted in Bill's Blog

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