Chipping Sodbury Ladies welcomed local rivals North Bristol to the Ridings in their first meeting of the season.

With both teams starting the season well, Chipping Sodbury Ladies were looking to have the edge and move their way into the top two.

The visitors kicked-off and Sodbury were quick to react and after a few initial phases, the ball was kicked to touch. Following the line out, the visitors gave a penalty away for being off their feet at a ruck and with uncontested scrums in place from the start, the home side opted for the scrum. North Bristol’s back line put pressure on Fly Half Louise Romanowski, forcing a kick to touch again. Attacking well in the lineout, Sodbury stole the North Bristol ball, only to lose it in open play. The visitors made no mistake and passed through the backs to their open side Winger who ran in their first try of the day.

Centre Katie Summerville kicked the game back off and put the pressure back on instantly. Number Eight Sammie Poulton followed the kick and whilst trying to fumble the catch, North Bristol knocked the ball forward. The advantage was lost when the ball was turned over in open play, only for the same Winger to make a break and score her second try of the game.

Play resumed and following the restart, North Bristol ran the ball straight into the pack. With a few metres gained, they were stopped in the midfield by some strong Sodbury defending. However the visitors were awarded a penalty and a quick realignment saw them take advantage and score their third try of the game.

Sodbury continued to battle and the level of conviction in the break down was unquestionable. Despite turning the ball over and continuously forcing North Bristol to make errors, whenever given the opportunity, the visitors penetrated any gap they could find. It was this that led to the fourth try on roughly the 17 minute mark.

The home side were determined not to get their heads down and some great attack play pushed North Bristol back towards their own line. Sodbury were awarded a penalty for a high tackle on Winger Rebecca Parkhill and the resulting scrum led to the back line putting the North Bristol ladies under pressure. Flanker Frankie Nutt went on a powerful run and despite support, was held up in the maul. Following the scrum, North Bristol made a play, only to be stopped their tracks with a big hit from Second Row Katie Ash who hit her opponent so hard the ball was flung forward. In the open play following the scrum, Sodbury were penalised for coming in at the side of the ruck which saw North Bristol take a quick tap and go over the line for their fifth try.

The last 10 minutes of the first half saw some big hits on both sides with Full Back Kelly Anne Parsons providing the last line of defense and with the support of Wingers, Rebecca Parkhill and Lara Waxman, North Bristol found themselves being shut down across the pitch. After making a tackle, Fly Half Louise Romanowski fell awkwardly on her shoulder and the home side reshuffled to accommodate the loss. Becky Anstey returned to the pitch after a few months off and immediately started causing problems for the North Bristol back line. The visitors continued to put the pressure on and following a knock on, took advantage and scored their sixth try at the half way mark.

Half time score: Chipping Sodbury Ladies 0 – North Bristol Ladies 42

With the score as it was, it would have been easy for the home side to get their heads down. However Chipping Sodbury came out fighting and within a few phases, thanks to the work of forwards Izzy Crew and Jo Newman, the ball was turned over. With some strong running from the forwards, momentum started to build. North Bristol continued to put the pressure on and forced an error, leading to a scrum. Sodbury fought back in open play and returned the favour by defending strongly, and forcing a forward pass.

Open play resumed and the first 20 minutes or so of the second half saw both teams battle to keep possession and make ground. Following some great Sodbury play, Frankie Nutt found herself held up on the line.

Sodbury were playing from the heart and were relentless in their determination to not only score a try but also ensure North Bristol didn’t go over the line again. With 10 minutes left on the clock and neither team having scored during the half, North Bristol were starting to feel the pressure. Having been marched back an additional 10 metres for back chatting the referee, the visitors were back in their own 22. Unable to take the quick tap due to an injury break, Katie Summerville, now Fly Half, waited until play could resume. During a few phases of incredible team work and quick hands, it was Summerville who went over for Sodbury’s triumphant score.

The last two minutes of the game saw North Bristol keep their focus and their obvious frustration of not being able to keep a clean sheet, drove them to keep putting pressure on the home side. Following a turnover in a ruck, they were able to make a break and score the last try of the game.

Final score: Chipping Sodbury Ladies 5 – North Bristol Ladies 45