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Battling Blues are well-beaten by high-flying Thurrock as challenging campaign draws to a close





A battling and spirited performance from Newbury Blues Ladies wasn’t enough to prevent them from slipping to a 31-0 defeat against Championship South 1 high-flyers Thurrock.

Newbury made a strong start with Meg Mason and Becks Reeves making life typically difficult for the promotion-chasing visitors.

Some superb defending from full-back Chloe Darby then kept Thurrock out at the cost of a scrum on the home side’s own five metre line.

The fleet-footed Jenny Buckley looks to breach Thurrock's back line. Pictures by Alastair Gray
The fleet-footed Jenny Buckley looks to breach Thurrock's back line. Pictures by Alastair Gray

Newbury’s dominant pack managed to regain possession at the scrum but, after the hosts were penalised for not releasing, Thurrock were gifted another golden opportunity from five metres.

Newbury’s defiant defenders managed to hold out for all of 10 minutes until the back line was finally breached for the first time. Thurrock kicked the conversion to move into a 7-0 lead.

However the home side responded well and some deft play by Becks Reeves followed by a determined drive from Tilly Burn put Blues in a promising position.

Tilly Burn drives forward with Rachel Martin in support
Tilly Burn drives forward with Rachel Martin in support

Meg Mason kicked Newbury to within a few metres of the try line and, with the weather worsening, Lucy Mercer thought she’d made it over the line only for the referee and touch judge to rule her attempt out, declaring that the ball had been held up.

Blues continued to battle and almost turned defense into attack following a superb charge down by Tilly Burn but Thurrock eventually wrested back control of the contest and made it 14-0 before half time.

Lizzie Harris launches into a tackle
Lizzie Harris launches into a tackle

The hosts continued to take the game to Thurrock with Meg Mason’s incisive kicking proving a persistent threat and a powerful pick-and-drive from Tilly Burn, now operating at eight, getting her to within five metres of the whitewash.

Disaster struck when an unfortunate slip from Becks Reeves saw her receive a yellow card and, capitalising on Newbury’s reduction to 14 players, Thurrock extended their lead to 21-0.

Becks Reeves powers into contact
Becks Reeves powers into contact

Though Blues refused to give in and again went within a few metres of crossing Thurrock’s try line the visitors exploited a small gap in Newbury’s defence to score a fourth try before completing the scoring with a late penalty, the full time result 31-0.

Newbury play their penultimate game of the season against Old Albanians, another of the league’s front-runners, this Sunday.



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