Brave Cornwall push Champions close



By Bill Hooper at St Clements Hill Truro

Cornwall Women gave reigning Division 2 Champions Hampshire Women a far tougher game than perhaps they envisaged as they made their way down to Truro on the coach.

Against a side that was made up of players predominately from Havant and Trojans clubs, the Cornwall side played their hearts out.

Captain Amy Bunt proudly led her side out through a guard of honour made up of the children of past and current Cornwall Women players.

Vicki Doidge braces for the tackle – photo Simon Bryant Iktisphoto

The early stages of the game saw both defences tested with Cornwall putting in some crunching tackles.

Eventually the visitors got a chance when Abi Pearson slipped a great pass to Becky Fenn who scored in the corner an unconverted try.

Hampshire looked to press home their advantage, but the Cornish defence was equal to them with Bunt putting in a crunching tackle typifying their spirit.

Amy Warman fires out a pass – Photo Simon Bryant Iktisphoto

Despite losing a player to a yellow card Cornwall held out, clearing their lines and it remained 5-0 to Hampshire at half-time.

Early in the second half Cornwall slipped off a tackle allowing the speedy Pearson to dot down Hampshire’s second try, Rose Brown added the conversion.

To keep in the hunt Cornwall needed the next score and it came following great work from forwards and backs, notably Kim Upcott and Becky Bennett before Jenna Arnold cleverly scored an unconverted try to huge cheers from the crowd.

Cornwall backs were looking hungry, both centres Tia Larson and Lilly Relton put in some good breaks, but it was Hampshire who went further ahead when Kesha Drain went over from close range, Brown again adding the extras.

Amy Bunt gave her usual 100% + photo Simon Bryant – Iktisphoto

With the game now in the final 10 minutes Cornwall pressed for another score, Upcott was again involved in the build-up as were Relton and Joey Sandercock, the ball was fired out to Larson, her power beat the tackle to dot down Cornwall’s second try to even more rousing cheers.

With the final play of the game Hampshire, to their huge relief, scored a fourth try through Cerys Ralph to ensure the bonus point win, the drained look on their faces testimony they had been in a battle.

Prop Kim Upcott enjoyed a fine game on the hoof – photo Simon Bryant Iktisphoto

Coach Jo Holden was full of praise for her side’s performance. “We’ve come a long way from last season’s score line, 0-38. The girls have taken on board everything we asked of them. Hampshire were shall we say surprised by our play today, they didn’t expect that and it rattled them.

“They put their bodies on the line tackling everything that moved, then showing tremendous guts to fight back and get those two scores, never say die attitude. I couldn’t be prouder of them all.

“We will build on today going into next Sunday’s game against Hertfordshire.”

Cornwall Women: Amy Bunt (Capt), Millie Chaston (both Ivybridge), Tia Larson (Bude), Lily Relton (Truro), Rebecca Bennett (Ivybridge), Megan Okey (Ivybridge), Amy Warman; Jenna Arnold (both Launceston), Emily Carbis (Devonport S), Kim Upcott, Megan Arnold (both Launceston),Caitlin Milliken (Ivybridge), Rosie Ninnis (Penryn), Elizabeth Langton (Ivybridge), Roberta Smith-Scotland (Plymstock)

Replacements: Nicole Rowland (Ivybridge), Zeta Penrose (Truro), Vicki Doidge (Launceston), Paige Clarke (Penryn), Lisa Allin (Bude), Joey Sandercock, Abigail Smith (both Launceston)

Hampshire Women: Abi Pearson, Nina Hoadley (both Havant), Rose Brown (Trojans), Jay Sime (Havant), Rebecca Fenn, Hannah Wilson (both Trojans), Lauren Gillingham (Havant); Kesha Drain, Thea Kilby, Ashleigh Robertson (all Trojans), Carol Tennant, Tessa Gale, Eloise Shrimpton (all Havant), Hannah Blount (Trojans) Natasha Bullock (Havant).

Replacements: Katie Casey, Lucy King (both Havant), Ciera Forry, Georgie Harris (both Portsmouth), Cerys Ralph (Havant), Jenna Berretta (Trojans), Ella Spacey (Winchester)

Referee: James Milliner-Woodcock

Posted in Bill's Blog

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