Monday, 20 September 2021
READING Abbey Ladies’ coach Jack Reynolds hailed his side’s “outstanding” performance after they sealed a second league title in as many years, writes Fiona Tomas.
The Nuns were crowned winners of Championship South West Two last Sunday following a 38-10 victory over Guildford Gazelles.
The result sees Reynold’s side progress to the Championship South play-off match, where they will bid for a place in the country’s second tier of women’s rugby.
Two first-half tries from Annette Tomas and Lou Marion saw the hosts build a 14-5 advantage over their rivals at the break, but Guildford’s fly-half pulled a score back after executing a quick tap-and-go.
It then looked like the game would swing Guildford’s way after Abbey’s Alice Denton was handed a yellow card on the cusp of half-time for holding on in the ruck.
The Surrey visitors struggled to capitalise with the extra woman and instead allowed the Nuns to score four unanswered tries.
The onslaught started with Tomas, who stormed down the right wing within the first minute of the half, with Annabel Hawkins slotting home the extras.
Marion followed suit moments later on the opposite wing as Abbey used the wider channels to greater effect.
Now back on the field, Denton gathered an off-load before blitzing down the wing and under the posts.
Fly-half Nat Bow fed Tomas on a plate for her hat-trick, cleverly tiptoeing her way through Guildford’s defence to offload to her the fullback for an easy run-in.
Guildford grabbed a consolation try which ended the game and confirmed Abbey as league champions with a game to spare.
In Reynolds’s first season at the helm, Abbey’s coach had only praise for his team after the final whistle. He said: “Everyone knew they had a job to do and that’s exactly what each of the girls did. They were outstanding.”
He paid tribute to his team’s attitude which he believes has been the backbone of their success, adding: “On that pitch, it’s solely down to them. They’ve had a lot of different coaches in recent years, with myself coming in at the start of the season.
“All I do is suggest things for them to try and they get on with it and do it. I’m so proud of them.”
02 April 2018
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