North Petherton 19 -28 Newton Abbot Ladies

22nd January 2024

The first five minutes set the tone for the game, as Newton Abbot opened the scoring with winger Abi Smith crossing the line after a perfectly executed play. Fly half Jess Veacock’s keen awareness of the blind side and a precise looping pass created an opening for Smith, who showcased impressive speed and agility in a one-on-one with the North Petherton fullback. Sophie Williams added the extras, giving the away team an early lead.

Undeterred, North Petherton launched a spirited counterattack, putting Newton Abbot on the defensive in their own 22. However, Newton’s defence held firm, and a crucial turnover allowed the visitors to capitalise on the momentum. Prop Josie Blaber’s powerful carry up the centre of the field set the stage for a series of pick-and-go plays, resulting in hooker Alia McCarthy burrowing over for the team’s second try. Williams once again secured the conversion, extending Newton Abbot’s lead to 14 points.

The intensity on the field was evident, with each ruck, scrum, and maul reflecting the fierce competition between the two sides. North Petherton, determined to make a comeback, showcased a well-coordinated string of phases that threatened Newton’s defensive line. However, a try-saving tackle from fullback Beth Nicholls turned the tide, leading to a turnover deep in Newton’s half. Newton Abbot capitalised on the opportunity, orchestrating a sequence of passes, strategic offloads, and powerful carries. Centre Sophie Williams grounded the ball down under the posts. Williams adding the extras, solidifying Newton Abbot’s dominance.

Half time: North Petherton 0-21 Newton Abbot

The second half kicked off with both teams displaying renewed determination. The physicality of the game reached new heights as the home side clawed their way back into contention with a pass intercept, resulting in a try under the posts. Conversion successful.
Possession exchanged hands as both teams fought for control, but a penalty for North Petherton saw them mount a comeback. A well-executed 5-meter lineout set up a driving maul that allowed them to score in the corner. With the extras added, North Petherton closed the gap to 7 points.

As the expected storm hit, the greasy ball added an additional layer of difficulty. Newton Abbot, however, showcased resilience in the face of pressure. Despite a fierce attempt from North Petherton to secure a third score, flanker Hanna Cunningham’s determined defence held them at bay, denying the opposition two opportunities at coveted points.

Encouraged, Newton Abbot launched a counterattack from their own half, with fullback Beth Nicholls providing an offload to Sophie Williams. The centre’s explosive 60-meter run capped off a sensational performance. The conversion was secured.
North Petherton had the last score of the afternoon, though the extras were not added.

With the rain pouring down, Newton Abbot’s defence held strong, forcing North Petherton to kick the ball dead, bringing an end to a gripping encounter.

Full time: North Petherton 19 -28 Newton Abbot

Newton Abbot: 15. Beth Nicholls 14. Abi Smith 13. Holly Howells 12. Sophie Williams 11. Sarah Short 10. Jess Veacock 9. Zain Carrington 1. Fiona Baker 2. Alia McCarthy 3. Josie Blaber 4. Sophie Rew 5. Dani Pritchard 6. Hanna Cunningham 7. Kat McEwing 8. Georgia Mitchell

16. Midge Northmore 17. Olivia Northmore 18. Chloe Preece 19. Becca Osborn

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