North Bristol Ladies 19

Westbury Ladies 14

North Bristol Ladies' good form continued as they recorded an impressive victory over league leaders Westbury at Oaklands writes Steve Bold.

The club was delighted to be hosting the RFU Area Finals for the Girls U15s and U18s but due to traffic issues and a couple of nasty injuries, kick offs were delayed and the Ladies were was moved from the AGP on to Pitch 2.

Pitch 2 was heavy due to the recent rain and with Storm Freya blowing towards the Football Club end this was going to be a tough match up with the conditions favouring the much bigger Westbury side.

North Bristol had the wind advantage in the first half and were in the ascendancy straight away. Strong carries took them inside their opponents twenty-two but for the first ten minutes they were unable to score. The deadlock was broken after seventeen minutes when a fine break from flyhalf Maddie Escott burst through the line and she scored beneath the posts. Danni Rigby converted as North led 7-0.

Just four minutes later North Bristol doubled their lead when outstanding centre Elouise Linton carried strongly, breaking tackles to power in from the half way line to cross the line. Rigby was again on target with the extras to push North’s advantage to 14-0. That was the final points of the first half and North Bristol knew they would have to work hard against the wind to secure the win.

With Westbury playing to their advantage and kicking North back inside their own territory it was only a matter of time for their first try of the game. Their continuous pick and drives were working and they crashed through the North D to score after forty-eight minutes. An excellent wide conversion brought them within a score, 14-7.

North Bristol earned a rare attack inside the Westbury red zone and Katie Harvey’s excellent break almost yielded a try but the pass to Jo Smerdon went to ground and the chance was gone after fifty-five minutes. Back came Westbury and their size-advantage told with another pick and drive try. This one was converted too, to level the scores at 14-14.

The match moved into injury time and Westbury were driving hard again. A great turnover won by Ice Asare ended the attack and from the next phase North won a scrum. There was a lengthy injury break for one of the Westbury forwards and by the time the game was re-started it was deep into injury time. From the scrum, Harvey carried well and then two big charges from Milly O’Donnell took the ball to half way. North Bristol picked and went again with Asare and Escott breaking tackles and when the ball moved left, Kalee Hopkins released her centre partner Linton who crashed through to score from forty metres to finish a superb move for an excellent try. It was 19-14 with just one minute to go.

From the re-start Phoebe Paddock collected the ball and the final whistle blew on a bruising encounter, with North Bristol Ladies knocking off the league leaders.

Tries - Elouise Linton (2), Maddie Escott

Conversions - Danni Rigby (2)