Winscombe girls dig deep to seal South West double and spots in National semi-finals
PUBLISHED: 16:30 07 March 2019
Winscombe’s under-15 and under-18 girls claimed a South West double on Sunday.
Having won national titles in 2017, the two teams booked their place in the semi-finals on April 7 with wins over Kingsbridge and Hornets.
The younger group had lost heavily to defending national champions Kingsbridge at the start of the season and conceded an early try.
But they worked hard at the rucks and scrums, stole lineout ball and disrupted the Kingsbridge maul, while also showing great line speed and excellent tackling.
The decisive final pass proved elusive, but Winscombe kept the pressure on and a well-worked forwards move led to the backs sending the ball along the line to Lauren Powell, who raced under the posts.
An untimely gust of wind denied Powell the conversion as the first half ended all square at 5-5, but Winscombe remained on top after the restart.
Kingsbridge enjoyed a brief spell in the ascendancy, but Grace White pounced on a loose ball and stormed under the posts for a try which Powell convereted to seal a 12-5 victory as Izzy Cooper produced some great late tackles to protect the lead and help clinch a memorable victory.
The older group also fell behind as their Hornets rivals claimed an early converted try, but continued pressure led to Jess Walrond going under the posts and converting to level it up at the interval.
Hornets regained the lead with a second converted try after the restart, but Winscombe worked an opening from a Shannon Webb break for April Calanan to score and close the gap to two points.
More pressure and strong tackling led to Katie Mackay crashing over, with Walrond adding the conversion to put Winscombe 19-14 up.
And they kept their momentum, with Webb getting in on the act to score a fourth try and cap a 24-14 victory.
Hornets mounted a strong finish, but resolute defence by Winscombe kept them at bay as Mackay and Izzy Taylor shared player of the match plaudits.
A club spokesperson said: “Ultimately it was a great showcase of the talent in the region at this level. Either team could have won and both teams represent what is a strong base of playing talent that we have locally.
“Where girls have been unavailable as called to play for Premiership and National honours, this really showed what the rest of the talented squad could do and the depth of players Winscombe have produced.”