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Thursday, 25 April 2019
ABBEY Nuns clinched their first win of Championship-level rugby with a last-minute score over Cheltenham Tigers on Sunday, writes Fiona Tomas.
The Emmer Green side battled to a 24-20 victory to end a run of five straight defeats courtesy of a last-gasp try by Alice Denton.
It was a positive start for Abbey, who scored after just two minutes played after Lou Burgham side-stepped down the right wing to find Annette Tomas, who wheeled in to score.
But a penalty kick and a try from the visitors pegged the Nuns back in a gruelling contest.
Another loss for the Nuns looked ominous when Alice Denton was shown yellow in the first half for an infringement at the ruck.
But she marked her return to the fold by kicking for territory in her usual trademark fashion, which resulted in Pippa Robinson dotting down from a driving maul before the break.
The momentum stayed with the Abbey Nuns in the second-half and the hosts’ resolve to maintain their winning margin was perhaps best epitomised when fullback Natalie Bow stood tall to produce a try-saving tackle on her own 22 metre line.
Denton crashed over on the hour mark to all but secure an Abbey win – but when Tomas was yellow-carded a deliberate knock-on the visitors came storming back, first through another penalty before crossing the whitewash to set up a nervy finish.
But following a high tackle on winger Gabriella Millard, it was Cheltenham’s turn to play with a woman down and the Nuns capitalised with the extra player — Denton truly making amends for her earlier sin-binning by adding her second of the match.
Speaking after the game, Abbey coach Jack Reynolds paid tribute to his side’s strong work ethic — and admits he wasn’t surprised by the result. Reynolds said: “Sunday’s result wasn’t a surprise. When you see the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, the win was always going to come.
“I’ve said every week we have to learn from our games and we have now. You can’t fault the hard work of not only the players but the coaching staff.
“Having Lewis Jones and Will Bevan in and around the group has made a real difference and its shows.
“I don’t want to say we’ll now go on a big winning run, but we’ve had a taste of victory and it certainly tastes better than losing.”
05 November 2018
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