Newbury Women force London Irish all the way in Championship South West 2 at Monks Lane
Newbury Women slipped to a 17-10 defeat against top of the league London Irish in Championship South West 2.
Irish had the lion’s share of the possession for the first 20 minutes, Newbury’s defence held strong.
Eventually the ball found its way to Irish’s left winger and with an overlap made, the first try was scored.
Having found their way in, Irish picked up the pace of their attack to run in a second try a mere seven minutes later.
Half time was looming and with regained possession Newbury started to control the game.
The smaller Newbury pack held their own in the scrums and the opportunities for number 8, C.Smith, to carry from the back of the scrum were plentiful.
Smith’s powerful ball carrying set the forwards up to continue the momentum, inching ever closer to the try line, one ruck at a time.
Their patience was rewarded when number 6, K Smith, made it over the line and Newbury got some points on the board.
The battle to gain ground continued but with a controlled and precise set of passes, London Irish eventually found the space they had been looking for and ran in their third try bringing the score to 17-5.
Refusing to be disheartened, Newbury picked up the pace and fought back.
With the forwards once again working their way up the pitch, drawing in almost all of Irish’s defence with strong carries and powerful pick-and-go, the opportunity opened up in the far right corner.
The ever-calm Meg Mason at fly-half noticed that the wing was left open for attack and called for a kick.
Sophie Rothwell, at scrum-half, linked well with Mason to allow the ball to be released in a beautifully timed kick.
Partnered with Anna Krzyżanowska’s speed and ball control, the ball was safely grounded and another five points were handed to the home side to make it 17-10 to London Irish.
As the time ran down, Irish fired all their energy into protecting the breakdowns, making it harder for Newbury to gain ground as they had before.
In the dying minutes, whether from frustration or just lack of composure, Irish gave away two consecutive penalties.
With ball in hand Newbury stuck to the ball carrying routine that had been successful so far and maintained possession.
Meanwhile, Irish’s frantic defence gave away yet another penalty and the team’s third yellow card.
Unfortunately, Newbury were unable to utilise the last-minute overlap and as the final whistle blew.
There is no rest for the Blues as they prepare to face Cullumpton away next week, hoping to build on the success of their last two games and fight for the win they deserve.
Newbury’s next home match at Monks Lane is on February 20, when they will face Portsmouth Valkyries for the first time this season.