Wednesday, 06 July 2022

Hosts have no answer to league leaders

HENLEY HAWKS WOMEN went down to a 22-0 home defeat against league leaders BATH LADIES at Dry Leas last Sunday.

Bath showed aptitude early in the wet conditions as controlling the ball in wake of Storm Eunice appeared to be difficult for both sides within the first quarter, with multiple scrums being required.

Henley’s strong forward pack found it strenuous to hold the opposition in the conditions, struggling to gain traction on the thick mud.

Unfortunately for Henley, strong defensive tackles from Hari McCormack and Nina Webb could not stop Bath from crashing over the line just after 20 minutes.

Before the half-time whistle, Henley were put on the defensive foot again. Following a Bath line-out and drive, the opposition remained camped on the 22. Henley’s defensive shift remained strong, holding Bath at every push, but after realising the defence was tight, Bath took the opportunity to get the ball wide and crash over in the corner to take a 12-0 lead.

Henley came out regenerated in the second half with an early break from Genevieve Moody. Quick interplay allowed the ball to travel across the pitch, but the visitors’ defence proved too much for Henley before the home side could capitalise.

Another break in the later minutes of the game from Nina Webb and Chloe Baker gave the home side hope before a knock-on allowed for the full-time whistle.

Elsewhere in the division, ABBEY WOMEN went down to a 43-0 home defeat against OLD ALBANIAN SAINTS.

In bad weather conditions, Abbey delivered a strong first-half performance to hold the on-form visitors to a 14-0 lead at half time.

Two red cards for the visitors, one a player and one a coach, marred an otherwise clinical performance and one in which Abbey can take heart from their first-half display.

Using the wind to their advantage, as well as Saints’ early ill-discipline, Mia McCreesh kicked well to gain early territory for her side. A run from her centre partner Alice Denton-Rice ensured most of the first half was played in the Saints’ half, yet their defence remained impassable.

Repeated attempts by Abbey to cross their line were thwarted, and the difficult conditions led to a multitude of handling errors. However, Abbey remained keen, with important turnovers from Katherine Sheppard and Annette Bevan keeping the momentum with Abbey.

Eventually Saints’ patience paid off and quick hands from a line-out saw pacey centre Caroline Collie slice through a gap in the defence, and the visitors were rewarded from their first foray into Abbey’s half.

Just before half-time, indiscipline on Abbey’s part allowed Saints to kick into the corner, from which a series of strong carries saw their forward pack claim a try.

In the second half the Saints scored five more unanswered tries with the strong wind now at their backs.

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