Newbury Ladies - Berkshire Cup winners
NEWBURY Blues Ladies capped their season by successfully defending the Berkshire Cup in Sunday’s finals day at Reading RFC.
Most of the county's six women's teams finished in the top half of South East West One, and the extent of Blues’ challenge was underlined when they lost 7-5 to Reading Abbey in their opening pool game.
Charlotte Williams’ try cut the gap created by Abbey’s converted effort, and Nicole Beesley was close to a late winner before Newbury found form in their second pool game to defeat Crowthorne 27-5 with two tries from Megan Horwood and others from Hannah Ward, Laura Smith and Charlotte Williams with Niki Paton adding a conversion as Newbury did enough to reach the semi-finals.
Their tie with Windsor saw Newbury turn on the style to win 19-0 over the 20 minutes with Horwood and Ward setting up Williams for the opening score co converted by Paton, who also added to a penalty try before Jeannie Ivanov sailed through an offside defence to send Blues into the final.
That was a repeat of last year’s decider with hosts Reading in which a Newbury side on fire soon broke through when Laura Smith pinched a Reading line out and drove through to score and Ward burst through just before the halfway mark to give Ivanov a perfect offload for a simple try under the posts.
Paton set up the final try when she pummelled her way through before being brought down by a high tackle, but she managed to scoop the ball off the floor for Horwood to touch down from close range and complete a 15-0 scoreline.
It also completed a successful campaign for Newbury, who finished third in the league table, and for retiring captain Louise Goodall and long-serving Helen Mitford, who were playing their last competitive matches.
The pictured Newbury squad was: Lou Goodall, Rosie Brenton, Lisa Aldred, Vicky Bland, Helen Mitford, Laura Smith, Megan Horwood, Hannah Ward, Jeannie Ivanov, Niki Paton, Milly Taylor, Emma Button, Charlotte Williams, Nicole Beesley, Lizzie Harris, Julie Utting, Ally Beech, Harry Synan, Harriet Mustard and Emma Horner.
Ladies stalwart Lou Goodall is retiring on Saturday after 26 years as a player, and the team staging a testimonial match immediately following the first IV game against Trowbridge.