Women’s Championship Title Decider
Reading Abbey Ladies 38, Guildford Gazelles 10
The climax of the Gazelles league season finally arrived with an away trip to second in the league Reading Abbey Ladies.
Although Abbey had a game in hand in principle the winners would be crowned champions of the Championship South West 2 league.
With everything to play for the game kicked off to the cheers of a large crowd evidence of the importance of such an occasion.
Abbey kept the ball from kick off but after multiple phases couldn’t make many inroads into the Gazelles defence and eventually Guildford turned the ball over. However a wayward kick from the Gazelles fly half was collected by the Abbey full back and with a poor Guildford chase from the kick, the Abbey full back showed searing pace to run in the first try of the game from 80m out.
Not the ideal start for Guildford but it was still early days. Again from the restart Guildford resolutely defended. Abbey kept hold the ball well but struggled to make inroads it the resolute Gazelles defence. Again Guildford won a turnover and elected this time to run the ball from deep down the right hand side. Gracie New and Vicky McEvoy combined to get the Gazelles to within touching distance. A strong pick and go’s from the pack finally paid dividends with Spencer Hastings diving over to make the score 7-5 to Abbey.
The game began to ping pong with both sides getting opportunities but it was Abbey who struck next by exploiting space down the blindside to allow their winger to scamper over.
The Gazelles again responded well. Anna Clarke who had been everywhere in the first half tipped to Vicki Boothman who steamed into the Abbey half. An infringement at the ruck led to a penalty for the Gazelles and with seconds left of the first half kicked the corner for a driving maul. A strong drive got Guildford over the line and although the Gazelles pleaded with the ref for what they believed to be an obvious score, the ref adjudged the ball to have been held up and blew for half time with the score at 14-5.
Unfortunately for the Gazelles, Abbey came roaring out the blocks in the second half scoring two quick tries one of which was converted and although Guildford regained some composure they couldn’t find a way to get back on the score sheet. Abbey scored a further 2 tries before Guildford got a consolation try through Zan Hudson, leaving the final score 38-10 and Abbey as league champions.
Although disappointed, the Gazelles can be proud of a second place finish and duly congratulated Abbey on their well deserved win.
Player of the Match went to Anna Clarke for an outstanding effort.