Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Dominant Nuns close in on title

ABBEY NUNS marched one step closer to securing the Championship South West 2 title this season with a 63-7 demolition of bottom-placed Ellingham and Ringwood on Sunday.

In what turned out to be a celebration of women’s rugby, the game ended with three Abbey players donning the blue of the visitors, who were blighted with injury after travelling with a reduced squad. However, the Rosehill faithful were treated to a season’s best 11-try team performance, with eight different players crossing the whitewash.

The home team all but wrapped up the win in the first half, securing the bonus point in a record 30 minutes with scores from Annette Bevan, Pippa Robinson, Claire Stevens and a brace for Sarah Odenbach, who enjoyed yet another dominant performance in the pack. These tries were run from a fine scrummaging platform, which continued to march Ellingham and Ringwood back, winning turnover ball aplenty.

Although the Nuns were forced to make a crucial change in the first quarter, when starting fly-half Ellie Rice picked up an ankle injury, youngster Karen Pacho stepped up the shirt to combine well with scrum-half Sarah Northover, who was playing her 50th league fixture for the Nuns. The Nuns then scored a second try for winger Robinson. Outside centre Alice Denton, also celebrating her 50th cap, added the extras.

Such a dominant first-half performance allowed Lewis Jones and his coaching team the option to experiment at the break, as Stevens, Bevan and Meaghan Fowler joined Rice on the bench to pave the way for Alice Lawrence and debutant prop Rosa Erdogan to join the fray.

Winger Matthews, who had come on the pitch before the break, helped see a trio of front-row tries from props Fi Manning, Hollie King and Jess Potter.

By this point Ellingham had been reduced to 12 players through injury so Bevan, Stevens and Fowler played for the opposition in the final quarter; Ellingham fullback Nina Hoadley eventually chinked her way through a gap in the home side’s defence and raced in under the sticks for her side’s only converted try of the day.

Abbey’s Denton responded with two of her own from her second-half position of fullback.

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