Saturday, 04 December 2021

Bonus-point win lifts Abbey away from danger zone

HENLEY HAWKS went down to their second defeat of the season, 60-17, at home against BLACKHEATH on Sunday in their Women’s Championship South encounter.

The opening 15 minutes allowed for an even contest with both sides willing to move the ball wide and keep a high tempo.

A kick in behind and the unpredictable bounce of the ball went over the covering Lauren Mueller’s head and Blackheath had the lead. A further two tries then ensured with the visitors pinning Henley back into their 22 and mounting pressure.

Henley were still full of enterprise and none more so than Nina Webb, whose tackle count and breaks were leading the charge.

The ability to finish off some of these proved costly as any turnover led to a kick back down the field.

A missed line-out close to the line allowed a further score and a lead of 24-0. With half-time approaching the Hawks pressed into the 22 and a clever kick from fly-half Gilly Thomas put Nicole Burger in for a much-needed score.

After the break it looked as through the ever present threat of Rachel Humphreys’ pace would look to have got the Hawks closer but for a well-timed cover tackle.

It was then all the visitors and quick line-outs and penalties resulted in multiple scores.

Henley pulled it back with tries from Katy Phillips and Lauren Mueller. With the final minute approaching and pressing the line for a fourth try, a well-timed inception when the overlap was on, saw the final score under the posts.

A bonus-point home 29-5 win for ABBEY against SUPERMARINE lifted them clear of the relegation zone and into seventh place.

A brace from Alice Denton-Rice, as well as further scores from skipper Annabel Hawkins, Caroline Shephard and Tori Kiff secured the maximum league points. It was Shephard’s try that opened the scoring, after Hawkins’ first line break of many of the day. Alice Denton-Rice was successful with the conversion.

Although most of the first half of rugby was played in Supermarine’s half, Abbey struggled to convert their territory into points.

Eventually, after being camped on the opposition’s try line, and a held-up effort, Hawkins grabbed her maiden try of the season and Abbey were 14-0 to the good at half-time thanks to the boot of Alice Denton-Rice.

Abbey started the second half much brighter, scoring their best try of the season so far. Another line break from Annabel Hawkins saw replacement flanker Tori Kiff in close support. Quick hands from fly-half Bevan to her outside backs McCreesh and Denton-Rice saw the outside centre cross in the corner. Moments later, Kiff grabbed a try of her own and Abbey had secured the bonus point.

The second half was blighted with injury stoppages by the visitors, which affected Abbey’s tempo. Debutants Skeels and Montgomery came on while Pullan replaced Ellie Denton-Rice.

Eventually Abbey worked their way up the pitch once again and a quick ball from Pullan to Denton-Rice saw the centre stretch over for her side’s final try of the afternoon.

The final 10 minutes saw Abbey under the most defensive pressure they had been all afternoon, as well as the most ill-disciplined. A high penalty count and a team yellow card for the dynamic flanker Wall, who had been spectacular all afternoon, allowed Supermarine to work the overlap and cross in the corner.

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