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Friday, 26 April 2019
ABBEY NUNS produced another impressive defensive display to earn a losing bonus point at Hove Ladies, writes Fiona Tomas.
The Championship South newcomers slipped to their second consecutive defeat as their East Sussex opponents secured an 11-0 victory.
The Emmer Green side found themselves under the cosh from the off, with Hove driving at Abbey’s defensive line with a series of strong ball carries.
The Nuns’ determined mindset to adjust to the greater demands in their new league environment was nevertheless clear to be seen – perhaps best epitomised through Hollie King’s heroic try-saving venture in the first half.
The powerful prop valiantly held up a try attempt from her opposite number on the whitewash, before playing an instrumental role in helping to force the resulting scrum back alongside Abbey’s ferocious front row.
The Nuns showed glimpses of the firepower they are capable of releasing at this level of women’s rugby – only one league below many English internationals in the elite Tyrrells Premier 15s – many of whom will be offered professional contracts by the RFU from next year.
Annette Tomas, Jess Potter and youngster Anais Carbon imposed their attacking threat through with several impressive line breaks.
As a result, three points – courtesy of a Hove penalty kick – was all that separated the two sides at the break after Abbey were impeded for repeated infringements at the ruck.
The second half saw Abbey settle into a rhythm with strong carries from captain Joey Fowler and centre Alice Denton, both of whom inspired the team to up its tempo.
Denton and Tomas probed the Hove back three with kicks, but Abbey were reduced to 14 after Tomas was shown yellow for a high tackle.
The resulting extra woman allowed Hove to work the ball wide where their fullback dotted down in the corner.
The Nuns continued to bring the game to Hove, but struggled to implement the final pass in more positive passages of play.
Hove kicked a final penalty and then played a safe game as their experience allowed, while Abbey worked tirelessly to preserve the losing bonus point.
24 September 2018
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