Tuesday, 09 August 2022

Denton bags hat-trick of tries to put Abbey Nuns in seventh heaven

A RAMPANT Reading Abbey Ladies put seven tries past a testing Sutton and Epsom side to

A RAMPANT Reading Abbey Ladies put seven tries past a testing Sutton and Epsom side to win 44-5 in their first home game of the season.

Despite the impressive score margin, Abbey were made to work hard and initially struggled to settle into the game, with below-par ball handling by both teams. The in-form Annette Tomas scored the first of a hat-trick of tries after five minutes played, showing good agility to wrong-foot the Sutton defence deep inside the opposition’s half, before Alice Denton converted.

Despite leading by three tries to one at the end of the first period, it was a taxing first half for the Nuns who at times struggled to match the determination that Sutton showed in playing catch-up. An uncharacteristic slip in communication from Tomas five metres from Sutton’s try line on the 10th minute saw her misjudged offload pounced on by an oncoming Sutton player, who ran in to score.

Denton charged at the Sutton defence barely three minutes later after scrumhalf Ellie Rice recycled the ball quickly to Tomas, who in turn fed Denton, who shrugged off three defenders in storming towards the try-line before converting.

The passages of play which ensued saw sloppiness from both sides. Sutton conceded a penalty for not rolling away, before Abbey were penalised for a high tackle and for being offside. Tomas won a turn over when a maul formed, only for Sutton to rob the ball back seconds later from some fine rucking.

But the Abbey defence remained too strong for Sutton who, from stealing the line-out, gathered the ball and charged down the left flank. The Nuns eventually won the ball back to find Denton, who spotted an opening in the Sutton defence to storm some 60 metres to run in for her second converted try at 21-5.

At the start of the second half, Denton was in action again by scoring her hat-trick try. After several phases from the re-start, hooker Harriet Driver led a strong scrum from the Abbey forwards after a Sutton knock-on, which led to a strong counter-attack from Abbey fullback which saw the referee judge Natalie Bow just short of the try-line, instead awarding a five metre scrum.

When Abbey won back possession with a turnover ball, Sutton were penalised for obstruction and Tomas, eager to make up for her earlier mistake, fended off several players before sprinting practically the length of the pitch to score a try and put Abbey 34-5 ahead.

From the re-start, another solid Abbey scrum found Rachel Purvey and switched with Bow who made good ground, before Sutton won back possession. Abbey, however, determined to try and secure a consecutive bonus point, did not let their foot off the gas despite yet more patchy exchanges. Tish Maybanks’ kick could only find an Sutton player, before the Nuns won back possession and then a penalty from which Denton found touch.

The line-out which ensued featured Zuzia Briggs and Joey Fowler producing some solid tackles to weary the Sutton defence, before Tomas capitalised on a turnover opportunity and fed Bow, who flew 50 metres down the wing to stretch the Sutton backs, before being brought to ground. A few exchanges later and Abbey were awarded a penalty for a high tackle. The resulting line-out was successful and Fowler collected cleanly and from the breakdown Tomas found Denton who wasted no time in driving at the Sutton defence to score her fourth converted try of the game.

Although Abbey were now in control, Sutton produced a valiant display until the end of the game, and a ball mishandling deep inside Abbey’s half ended a prolonged period of possession which forced the Nuns to once again defend on their own try line. Tomas rounded off the scoring by storming down the wing from the Abbey try line to beat several defenders in an inspiring individual pursuit to ground Abbey’s seventh.

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