Sun 08
Exeter Athletic Ladies
56
-
5
League
Ladies
Dogged Withycombe Ladies Fight to the End

Dogged Withycombe Ladies Fight to the End

By Adam Curtis
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Bridget Culver reports on the Ladies’ first game in the 2019/20 season


It was a challenging start to the season for Withycombe as they travelled the short distance to Exeter Athletic. Athletics, the new Exeter Chiefs team, were short of players so it was reduced to a 12 a-side contest, unfortunately, with Withies being forward dominant this gave the home team a big advantage from the outset.

With both teams showing early season rustiness, the first five minutes were scrappy with several knock-ons and turnovers. However, once Athletic’s backs got the ball they were able to make inroads through a slower Withies’ defence. Tries came at regular intervals in the first half, but not without some stubborn resistance, particularly in the latter stages. Tanya Pugsley had some ferocious clear-outs and along with forward of the match Phoebe Pretty-McGrath, Sian Williams and Amy Gillard held the defensive line together.

Withies fielded three new players fresh to rugby, as well as welcoming back some old faithfuls from injuries and retirement. Emma Patch, Carys Flain and Leah Delling pulled on the green and black shirt for the first time and gave good accounts of themselves, whilst Dee Travers played after a two-year hiatus and it was as if she had never been away! Mentions should also be given to Carol Glover and Molly Tregedeon who moved from the back row of the scrum to centres with only 30minutes warning!

The second half saw a more cohesive unit from the Withies. From the restart Gillard pounced on uncertainty from the receiver and this set up a series of phases. Pugsley was able to pick up from the base of the ruck and drive over from two yards out to open Withies’ account. Back of the match KC Williams used her electrifying pace to make several line breaks and her last 40metre run saw her hauled down agonisingly short. Despite the efforts Withies could not add to their tally.

Despite the defeat there was no shame in the loss and gave valuable game time to the ladies at the start of a long season. With several players retiring or moving on at the end of last year it creates opportunities for new recruits to step up to the plate. Training is on Wednesday evenings 7-8.30pm at Raleigh Park. The next match is Sunday 15th at 2.30pm as the ladies host Bideford.

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Match details

Match date

Sun 08, Sep 2019

Kickoff

14:30

Competition

Women's NC South West (West)

League position

5
Exeter Athletic Ladies
9
Withycombe Ladies