Thornbury Women 29

Cheltenham North Ladies 17

Thornbury Ladies defied horrendous conditions and tenacious opponents to register another win with Polly Pearce scoring a fine hat-trick of tries. Virtually all the game was played on the heavy second team pitch after the game was halted for a serious injury to the Cheltenham North fullback. Three first half tries without reply built a lead that strong defence was able to protect in the second half.

Thornbury played uphill in heavy rain and the match was barely two minutes old when the referee halted play following an injury to the Cheltenham North full back. Unable to move the injured player the game was moved to the second team pitch.

After a ten minute pause the match restarted with a Thornbury scrum. Thorns attacked and Sadie Giles burst through and scored 37 seconds after the game resumed. Fliss Place converted.

Thornbury looked more cohesive in attack, and were able to deal with the physically bigger Cheltenham North players, with Beth Brawn tackling everything that moved in a remarkably mature and effective performance for someone playing only her second game of rugby.

Midway through the first half Thornbury scored a second try. Some excellent handling in the heavy rain saw the ball moved to Polly Pearce who raced past the cover and score the try. It was unconverted but Thornbury deserved their 12-0 lead.

Six minutes later Fliss Place scored following a quickly-taken penalty in the Cheltenham North ‘22’. The conversion missed by a fraction and Thornbury led 17-0 at half time.

Cheltenham North started the second half the better and after close play on the Thornbury line the No8 scored.

Shortly after the restart Thornbury scored again. Beth Brawn and Sam Baker-Green carried well then quick passing put Polly Pearce into space and she sprinted in for her second try. Fliss converted and at 24-5 the game was effectively won.

Both sides cancelled each other out as the pitch became increasingly heavy although the rain had now stopped. Cheltenham North scored a second try then following a Thornbury attack down the right the ball was moved to the left where accurate passing brought Polly Pearce into the line. She fed Tara Chambers and a quick pass to Polly on the outside saw her clear the defence and accelerate away from the cover for a glorious try that completed her hat-trick. The conversion was inches wide but Thornbury led 29-10.

She nearly added a fourth direct from the restart. Catching the ball outside her “22” she ran with pace and power through the Cheltenham North team only to be hauled down a metre short. The visitors had the last say with a converted consolation try but Thornbury had deservedly won 29-17.

It was another committed performance from Thornbury, and the handling of the backs in particular was impressive in poor conditions. Polly Pearce, in her first game of the season, and Beth Brawn in only her second game of rugby had particularly fine games. Claire Brealey had an excellent game in defence and linked with the forwards and backs superbly.