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Match report Gill Burns Cup 2018 Glouc 0 v Berks 65 , 13-5-18

Gloucestershire Ladies 0 Berkshire Ladies 65

Mark Hoskins

Gloucestershire Ladies battled bravely against a high-quality Berkshire side at Cleve. The home team competed well throughout, with prop forward Simi Pam having a particularly impressive game, and it was only in the final quarter that visitors ran away with the match.

The visitors entered the contest needing to score 55 points without reply in order to overhaul Kent (whose game had kicked off earlier) at the top of Pool 3 in Division One of the Gill Burns Women’s County Championship. However, the Berkshire coaching team deliberately kept this target from their players, preferring them to play their normal expansive game in search of points. Gloucestershire held them well in the opening stages, and it was not until the tenth minute that the first try arrived. Tall centre Alice Denton took advantage of a weak clearance kick to touch down to the left of the posts, and she converted her own score.

Battling openside flanker Megan Horwood, who had an excellent game for the visitors, dived on a loose ball to score the next try in the 17th minute, after which Gloucestershire mounted their first attack. From it, replacement Maddie Escott set Pam up for a driving run, and the prop came close to scoring. It was to prove the nearest Gloucestershire would come to crossing the line.

Outside half Cherelle Jameson sprinted 50 metres down the left wing to claim Berkshire’s third try in the 27th minute, and right at the end of the half centre Lizzie Hearn took Denton’s pass to cross to the left of the posts. Denton was unsuccessful with her other first half conversion attempts, leaving Gloucestershire trailing by a respectable 22-0 at half time.

A positional change saw centre Bobbie Jackson move to scrum half for Gloucestershire at the start of the second half, and she combined well with her No.8, skipper Sadie Giles, as the home side played their most fluent rugby of the game. Pam had a good 15 metre run down the left wing, and the hour mark had nearly arrived before Berkshire scored again. The scorer was replacement Annette Tomas, who sprinted over wide on the right. Tomas, who has trained with the Ireland Women squad this season, has blistering pace, and she was to prove her worth with three more second half scores.

Berkshire now upped their game in search of further scores, and from then on it was hard for Gloucestershire to gain any meaningful possession. Denton scored a brilliant try in the 63rdminute, receiving the ball on the halfway line and carving a path through the defence to score under the sticks. Jameson took over the kicking duties to add the extras, and Denton soon scored again after a superb team move involving a bout of slick passing and impressive support play. Jameson again converted to make it 41-0.

Tomas was first up in support of a great run from No.8 Pippa Robinson to score Berkshire’s eighth try, Jameson converting brilliantly, and Berkshire reached the coveted 55 point mark when Tomas fell on a loose ball to score, with Jameson again adding the conversion kick. Replacement scrum half Ellie Davidson ran in for tenth Berkshire try, and right on time Tomas again showed the home defence a clean pair of heels to cross for her fourth try of the half.

This was always going to be a tough afternoon for Gloucestershire, but the players competed with great spirit against top class opponents. Heads never dropped, the all-round attitude was excellent, and the players will have benefited from competing at this level of the game.      

Gloucestershire (Thornbury unless stated): E Mundy (Cheltenham Tigers), A Meachin (Aretians), B Jackson, J Thompson (Dursley), S Walker (Cheltenham Tigers), D Rigby (North Bristol), E Codd (Worcester Valkyries), S Pam (Bristol University), G Davey (Hucclecote), A Eves (North Bristol), L Panting, K Thompson (Dursley), A Alevropoulos-Borrill (Worcester Valkyries), K Martin (St Mary’s), S Giles (captain)

Replacements: E Whitelaw, H Dent (Dursley), L Forrow (Aretians), M Escott (North Bristol), J Gamblin (Aretians), V Foxwell (Bristol), G Tyrell 

Berkshire (Abbey unless stated): R Humphreys (Windsor), H Matthews, A Denton, L Hearn (Henley), C Baker (Windsor), C Jameson (Windsor), E Rice, B Barrett (Henley), H Driver, K Hallett (Wasps), K Wysocki-Jones (Henley, captain), N Mitchell, L Knight (Reading), M Horwood (Newbury), P Robinson  

Replacements: L Mercer (Newbury), J Potter, L Hassett (Newbury), S Barnett (Windsor), L Wilkie (Henley), E Davidson (Henley), A Tomas

Tries: Tomas (4), Denton (3), Howard, Jameson, Hearn, Davidson

Con: Jameson (4), Denton

Referee: E Davies (Devon)

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