Bath Ladies III were made to work desperately hard to overcome a Thornbury Women’s side that fought and tackled themselves to a standstill, writes Dave Fox.

It was a hugely impressive performance for Thornbury’s ladies against a Bath team including eight players from a higher league.

Bath took control of possession and territory from the kick-off and showed physicality and pace as they moved the ball through forwards and backs but Thornbury were not going to go down without a fight.

The defence was tight and Bath couldn’t get through.

Polly Pearce and Sadie Giles tackled ferociously and also enjoyed good runs but virtually all the game was played in the Thornbury half.

Bath nearly got over but good defence held the ball-carrier up and Thornbury were able to clear.

As pressure built Thornbury began to concede penalties and the opening score came after twenty-two minutes when Bath kicked a penalty.

Thornbury attacked from the restart but a pass was intercepted on the Bath ten metre line and the outside centre had too much pace and ran in for the try, which was converted for a 10-0 lead.

Thornbury took play to the Bath line and there was a scoring opportunity but the ball was turned over and good passing set the right wing away. She would have scored but an outstanding tackle from Polly Pearce saved a certain try.

However Bath had the final say of the half when their hooker scored between the posts after a period of pick and go. The conversion made it 17-0 at the break.

Early in the second half a fine charge into the Bath ‘22’ promised much but again a crucial turnover enabled Bath to exploit space out wide and the left wing hared upfield and would have scored had it not been for the determined Sadie Giles who produced another try-saving tackle.

But Bath were in the right part of the pitch and after they were held up over the line for a second time they scored a try in the corner.

The second half was a mirror image of the first and again Thornbury tackled and put pressure on Bath but Thorns began to tire and the left wing squeezed in at the corner for a late try and a 27-0 lead.

Thornbury continued to defend well and kept their line intact for the remainder of the game. Bath Ladies deserved their win. They are a good side and not surprisingly are unbeaten this season, however they paid Thornbury many compliments afterwards notably that Thorns were the best side they had played all season.

Although disappointed to have been defeated and failed to score Thornbury came out of the game with great credit. The defence was outstanding, and the attitude was exemplary. Polly Pearce was a rock in defence and all the other players tackled with ferocity. Beth Brawn, still learning the game, was a terrier and when Hollie Radcliffe came off the bench for her first game of rugby she did not look out of place. Claire Brealey was again a fine tackler and distributed the ball superbly, whilst Sadie Giles once more caused problems when she had possession.

Next Saturday Thornbury Women play Devon club Sidmouth at home, kicking off early at 11:30 as the curtain-raiser to the league match between the clubs’ First XVs.