Saturday, 16 December 2017

Burgham brace helps Nuns gain away win

Burgham brace helps Nuns gain away win

ABBEY Ladies continued their promising start to life in the championship with a 21-14 victory over Cullompton, to register their fifth win of the season, writes Fiona Tomas.

Louisa Burgham scored either side of half-time for the Nuns, while Annette Tomas also crossed.

Kim Chandler enjoyed a fine day from the tee, converting all three of Abbey’s tries to further cement her status as Abbey’s first-choice kicker, despite playing in only her second game of the campaign.

But it was a tale of two halves after the Berkshire side were forced to resist a spirited second-half resurgence from their Devon opponents, who denied third-place Abbey a bonus point.

The result sees the Sonning side sit three points behind fellow rivals Newbury in the table.

It was a bright first-half display from the Nuns, characterised by several strong ball carries from the forwards who thwarted Cullompton at the breakdown, with Abi Wall and Claire Stevens recycling efficiently.

With scrum-half Ellie Rice strategically altering Abbey’s game plan through several well-placed box-kicks in the blustery conditions, the visitors flooded Cullompton’s 22 and were soon rewarded.

The hosts’ indiscipline led to a well-worked Abbey scrum which saw Tomas break away before side-footing three defenders to score.

And on the cusp of half-time, Burgham – who had earlier been held up short – crossed after a fine backs move to put the Nuns in control.

The centre continued her fine form almost immediately after the break, grabbing her second from a perfectly executed penalty move to lead 21-0.

But Abbey’s much-changed back line – implemented after the break by coach Jack Reynolds – received a stern test from Cullompton, who scored twice in quick succession to set up a tense finale at 21-14.

But the Nuns had enough to see the game out and had their prayers answered when Rice kicked for touch to earn them a valuable away win.

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