Chipping Sodbury Ladies 14

Thornbees 5

The Thornbees slipped to defeat at Chipping Sodbury yet were left to wonder how they had managed to lose having dominated much of the match.

Early pressure from the Thornbees forwards stretched the Chipping Sodbury defence but they played into the home side’s hands by not moving the ball wide.

Instead Sodbury held out and on their first venture into the Thornbees half, they scored.

Despite two try-saving tackles from Emma Shackell, a missed tackle close to the posts let the Sodbury fullback in for a converted try.

The Thornbees took the game by the scruff of the neck and controlled the rest of the half, but were unable to score.

Sadie Giles and Shackell twice made good ground and Gemma Tyrrell made a great run down the left, but cover came across and the offloads went to ground.

Emma Boyd beat two players on a dangerous run but was tackled just short.

Close to half-time Chipping Sodbury were penalised and the Thornbees put the ball in the corner and went for a lineout. They won the set-piece and drove for the line.

As the ball was released, Charlotte Williams was on hand to scored a try. The conversion went wide and as half-time came and Thornbees they were unfortunate to be behind.

The weather deteriorated further as the second half started and Chipping Sodbury looked a much more improved team and played with continuity and control.

The Thornbees couldn’t get their hands on the ball, and when they did they invariably ran into trouble by keeping it tight and taking contact.

Midway through the half the Thornbees secured the ball and a deep clearing kick looked to ease pressure but the home fullback weaved her way through two weak tackled to score. The conversion doubled the score and at 14-5 the Thornbees knew they needed a quick score.

But it didn’t happen. They didn’t play to their strengths and when Emma Boyd went off one of their play-makers had gone. Then Shackell received a blow and for precautionary reasons an ambulance was called with the match moving to an adjoining pitch.

The last quarter of the game was even with neither side looking likely to score and with rain and temperature falling there was a sigh of relief when the referee blew the final whistle.

It had been another step up in the performance of the Thornbees. Sadie Giles led with her usual skill and determination and was outstanding. Set-piece play went well and there were many useful carries from the tight forwards but Sodbury were better at clearing out the breakdown.

The Thornbees backs looked dangerous and the Emma Boyd – Polly Pearce midfield link looks useful whilst Emma Shackell had a fine afternoon before her injury, however the ball was kept tight too often.

Danielle James had a particularly impressive debut in what was Thornbees best performance of the season so far.

Elsewhere at the club, Thornbury First XV’s game at Teignmouth was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, however the Third XV enjoyed a 60-17 win over Avonmouth Thirds.

This weekend the First XV take on league leaders Launceston at Rockhampton Road whilst the Second XV play Dings Crusaders.

The Third XV don’t have a match but the Development XV play at Nailsea & Backwell.

On Sunday the Thornbees travel to Wiltshire to take on league leaders Westbury. Games kick off at 2:00 and 2:15.