Rugby: Hornettes cannot topple leaders Westbury

PUBLISHED: 17:12 17 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:12 17 January 2019

Hornettes full-back Stacie Godfrey looks for a gap (pic James Wain Photography)

Hornettes full-back Stacie Godfrey looks for a gap (pic James Wain Photography)

© 2018 James Wain, All Rights Reserved

Hornettes Ladies visited leaders Westbury for their latest league game, but were not at their best.

With several players arriving just before kick-off, they got off to a slow start and spent almost the entire first half defending in their own half.

Westbury used a powerful pack to repeatedly pick and drive into the inexperienced Hornettes, but it took them 30 minutes to score their first try, from a scrum where they attacked on the blind side to score in the corner.

From the restart, the hosts produced a series of drives to cross the line several times only to be held up by strong defensive work of Lorna White, Hannah Handsford and Emma Steer.

The pressure paid off as Westbury found a crack in the Hornettes defence with a round the corner run by their second row to score and a third try just before half time made it 15-0.

The second half saw the Hornettes playing up the slope and with the wind in their faces, with Westbury’s full back kicking a long ball downfield and outsprinting the defence to score in the corner.

Stacie Godfrey made a number of tackles to halt further attacks, as Emma Gibbins and Meg Palfrey stood firm in the centres and made numerous tackles to thwart their rivals.

Lucy Mager tackled hard and ran miles to track back and cover Westbury breaks and Gabbie Jade made a try-saving tackle, causing the attacker to knock on over the line.

Abbey Constable worked tirelessly to rip numerous balls in contact and stop a number of attacks but Westbury eventually gained a penalty and took a quick tap for their prop to barge over the line for a converted try and 27-0 lead.

Hornettes regrouped and from the restart Constable tackled the ball carrier, with the referee penalising Westbury for holding on.

The ball was kicked into touch, giving the Hornettes a platform, and Frankie Robins secured the lineout ball, for Kat Walter, Jade Grindal and Nikki Orme to set up a maul, driving Westbury backwards.

Mager was given the ball in space 60 metres out and jinked and swerved her way through the Westbury defensive line to score under the posts for a converted try.

Hornettes found some belief and Westbury again infringed, with Constable taking a quick tap and Steer running a brilliant dummy line to hold up the defensive tacklers.

A long pass was taken by Mager at full pace and she outran the cover defence to score in the corner, but was unable to convert as it finished 27-12 to Westbury.

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