OEs Women return to winning ways.
Elthamians bounced back from their first ever league defeat a fortnight ago to secure a hard fought victory over Lewes Ladies at College Meadow.
Old Elthamians 26-19 Lewes
OEs made two changes to their starting line up - Ciara Walkin coming into the back row with Poppy Branch moving to lock. In the backs, Andy Birchall resumed on the wing swapping with Ciara Potter who moved to the bench.
For the first time this season Elthamians started brightly looking sharp in attack and defence. But it was an impressive Lewes side who struck first after working their way deep into home territory early on. Following multiple phases, OEs eventually ran out of defenders and Lewes opened the scoring with a converted try after only six minutes.
Despite the early setback, the home side looked like a team playing with a lot less pressure on them and they quickly took a stranglehold on this contest.
With fly-half Helen Harris and centres Emily John and Georgia Gray aggressive in defence, Lewes spilled the ball a number times and the home side were quick to capitalise.
Prop Bex Goodwin along with Branch, hooker Steph Rukin and flanker Jasmine Leota made big gains with the ball in hand and it was Leota who crashed over for OEs' opening try on 17 minutes, No.8 Courtney Harvey adding the extras.
For the rest of the half, OEs monopolised territory and possession and battered the Lewes line. The visitors had two players sin-binned in quick succession for constant infringements and three minutes before the interval OEs scrum half Katie Dootson took advantage of the gaps in the Lewes defence to race through for her 2nd try in successive matches. A Harvey conversion saw OEs 14-7 up at half time.
The home side started the second half brightly. Early pressure soon put them in in the Lewes 22 and a quick penalty saw the ball moved through the hands of Dootson and Harvey to put wing Clair Melville-Brown in space to go over out wide for her first OEs try on 43 minutes, once again Harvey added the two points.
Elthamians had their tails up now and looked dangerous whenever they moved the ball wide. With a constant supply of quick ball they were soon on the Lewes line again where another powerful pick and go saw Leota over for her second try.
However, in the final quarter the game lost all shape and structure and descended into a bit of a mess. OEs also seemed to get on the wrong side of the referee and would see the game out with 13 players after both Potter and Leota were sent to the sidelines.
Lewes were quick to capitalise on their extra numbers and in the last eight minutes they scored two converted tries to cut the deficit to just seven points. But Elthamians had enough left in the tank to see out the game and a hard-fought victory.
Old Elthamians: Allebone, Melville-Brown, Gray, Birchall, John, Harris, Dootson, Goodwin, Rukin, Seakins, Branch, Mitten, Walkin, Leota, Harvey. Subs: Baron, Gent, Thompson, Codling, Gelman, Potter, Willis.