No disgrace in defeat as Blues battle hard against unbeaten league leaders Thurrock
There was no disgrace in Newbury Blues Ladies’ 37-3 defeat at the hands of unbeaten Championship South leaders Thurrock at the weekend.
Newbury are a team on the up but are still getting used to life at this level, while high-flying Thurrock are well-established Championship contenders. The T-Birds, as Sunday’s hosts are known, have scored more than 30 points in all but two of their eight league matches so far this season and are yet to taste defeat.
Newbury, on the other hand, are beginning to get to grips with the league following last term’s promotion and have continued to show positive signs since opening their account at the end of October. Blues battled hard right to the end against the all-conquering Essex outfit, and will surely emerge a stronger side for the experience.
Newbury tried to keep the game played to their strengths as much as possible and once again managed to impress in the scrum and at the lineout.
The visitors did well to force Thurrock out wide, although at times the league leaders' backs proved too hot to handle. Even when the home side’s wingers made life difficult for the Newbury defenders, Blues never let their heads drop and made sure to give a good account of themselves.
Newbury did manage to get on the scoresheet thanks to the boot of Georgia Smith. Thurrock gave away a penalty, but it initially appeared as though Blues had failed to capitalise after the resulting kick didn’t make touch. However, pressure from the visitors forced a knock-on, and from the resulting scrum Newbury were awarded a penalty, allowing Smith to fire three points in between the posts.
Blues battled hard in the second half, limiting Thurrock to just two tries, while the powerful running of Abbie Leadbitter and forward-of-the-match Zoe Vaughan ensured the home side’s defence were constantly given something to think about.
The first XV return to action with the visit of third placed Old Albanians on December 10. The second XV, meanwhile, are set to travel to Reading Abbey for a friendly this weekend.