Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Nuns run in nine tries to make cup progress

TWO weeks after meeting in the league, the top two Championship South West 2 sides met again in round two of the Intermediate Cup on Sunday, and it was Abbey Nuns who unleashed their full devastating potential on the Guildford side.

Nine well-orchestrated tries were scored by the hosts by six different players, turning around a nervy 12-7 win over the same opponents from two weeks ago into a 55-10 drubbing, with three of the scores coming from a strong bench of finishers including pacey Lia Gingell and Precious Ampontuah.

Abbey Nuns’ refined offloading game kept the tempo of the game high throughout while their dominant scrum turned over four balls against the head.

Abbey started brightly and with intent, but too many early rucks were overturned by Guildford; demonstrating their expertise at the breakdown and matching Abbey’s desire to progress to the next round of the cup. However, led by centre Karen Pacho, Abbey’s defence was tireless and dealt well with Guildford’s pacey winger Philippa Wellman as she threatened to break the line.

Intelligent kicking from fly-half Abi Wall saw fullback Annette Bevan latch on to a cross-field kick which saw Abbey foray into Guildford’s 22 for the first time. Eventually, the move was completed by centre Alice Denton for the first score of the afternoon.

The Nuns managed to keep Guildford scoreless for the remainder of the first half, with further scores from prop Harri Driver, her maiden try this season, and captain Bevan; all achieved off the back of a formidable scrum which continued to push the Guildford pack back. After scrum-half Ellie Rice picked up an injury, winger Sarah Northover stepped in to the half-back position and continued to conduct the home pack well.

The second half started in the same vein, with Denton scoring the first of six more tries as the home side’s superior fitness shone through, not before Guildford’s Wellman was rewarded with a score out wide after several phases of forward carries.

Gingell and Ampontuah joined the fray, as well as debutant Hannah Bosher, all three of whom made immediate impact with Ampontuah tiptoeing over the line to score.

Wall and Bevan both crossed the line but not before arguably two of the best tries scored all afternoon by centre Gingell, who combined well with Annabel Hawkins to dot down first under the posts and then moments later out on the wing, after showing immense strength to beat three defenders.

Although the game was all but won, it was Guildford who had the final say when their fullback raced down the wing to score the final try of the day.

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