Monday, 15 August 2022

Nuns determined to live up to favourites tag for league title

READING ABBEY Ladies ended their pre-season preparation in style with a 73-7 drubbing of Chipping

READING ABBEY Ladies ended their pre-season preparation in style with a 73-7 drubbing of Chipping Sodbury at Rose Hill on Sunday, writes Fiona Tomas.

After commanding wins against Chester Devas and Chesham during pre-season, another dominant performance cements their status as serious title challengers.

Vice-captain Alice Denton was the first to go over after the Nuns capitalised on Red Ross-Lee’s early turnover ball. Then, on the 10-minute mark, a clever run from Hollie King set up Rachel Purvey, who ran in under the posts for the Nuns’ second converted try, before Denton touched down minutes later to make it 19-0. Like Denton, lock Annabel Hawkins brought her county playing experience to the pitch and was the orchestrator of Abbey’s fourth try.

Chipping were unable to deal with her high kick downfield which led to Denton scoring her hat-trick try. But her conversion effort rebounded off the left post to keep the score at 24-0.

Purvey bagged another before again showing great determination to fend off two tacklers as she drove towards the line for Abbey’s fifth after scrum half Ellie Rice danced her way through the Chipping defence. When Fiona Tomas produced a kick which unintentionally fizzed across the pitch, the number 10 chased the ball and capitalised on a lucky bounce, ghosted past two Chipping wingers and scored under the posts.

At the re-start, Abbey won back possession almost immediately by Tomas on the half-way line who combined with Denton, before receiving it back again to run in for her second. Then a fine offload by Hawkins saw prop Harry Driver bundle over the try-line, before a lop-sided off-load by Tomas was pounced on by Zuzia Briggs to score.

The final 20 minutes of the game saw prop Molly Wells, making a return after a long lay-off with an ankle injury, produce some fine tackles and combining well with King, who went on to grab a second.

Abbey play their first game of the season away at Richmond on Sunday.

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