Horwood's Meg-a effort can't spare Newbury from narrow defeat at Irish
Newbury Blues Ladies were unable to capitalise on an early lead as they slipped to a battling 36-17 defeat against London Irish in West London.
Newbury made use of a number of early penalties to demonstrate the power of their mauling lineout and the dominance of their scrum.
The visitors spread the ball, looking for a gap in the Irish defence, but found themselves thwarted by a resilient home back line.
However Blues continued to pile on the pressure and opened the scoring with a well-deserved try when the in-form Meg Horwood carried the ball over the whitewash following a scrum on Irish’s five metre line.
Newbury were oozing with confidence and struck again, making use of their powerful scrum for the second time in a handful of minutes.
After a few lengthy passes helped Blues spread play, the marauding Sadie Mansell made great progress down the left flank until she was stopped just shy of the try line.
The ball was recycled and Anna Kryzyzanowska, only recently returned from a serious injury, found herself in acres of space to charge over for Newbury’s second score of the afternoon.
The visitors continued to attack but Irish were improving, forcing a succession of handling errors from Blues. Despite Emma Paton-Robinson disrupting the home side’s lineouts and Meg Horwood making things difficult at the scrum, Irish scored two tries of their own to take the lead.
Both sides continued to attack and looked to gain control with some territorial kicking, but the evenly-balanced game swung in the home team’s favour when Blues were reduced to 14 following a yellow card.
Irish extended their lead when they exploited gaps in Newbury’s depleted defence to run in their third try but the visitors continued to fight hard, battling at the breakdown and remaining dominant at the scrum.
The second half was without doubt a showcase of Newbury’s impressive scrummaging power and technique. After yet another solid set-piece from within the home side’s 22, the quick-thinking Meg Horwood found space around the ruck to score her second of the afternoon. Meg Mason’s conversion drew Blues level with Irish.
However the game ended in disappointment as the hosts ran in three unanswered tries to condemn Newbury to defeat.
Both Newbury teams are in action in a fortnight, with the first XV hosting Beckenham and the unbeaten seconds travelling to Farnham.