Devon Ladies make impressive start to County Championship campaign
DEVON RFU made an impressive start to their Gill Burns Women’s County Championship campaign with a 32-24 away win against Gloucestershire at Cleve.
Last year’s South West regional plate winners took no time to settle to playing at the higher level and took the lead against Gloucestershire after just eight minutes when captain Donna Downes scored a try after Devon had kicked to the corner from a penalty.
Number eight Liz Lennox then doubled Devon’s lead on 16 minutes. She initially made the break from the back of a scrum on the halfway line. Although she was stopped five-metres short, Devon recycled and eventually Lennox picked the ball up and drove over.
Gloucestershire cut the gap with a try on 21 minutes and came close again from the restart, but Lilly Goddard made a great tackle to steal the ball and turn defence into attack.
But the home team did get a second try on 25 minutes, which they also converted, to go 12-10 in front.
However, Devon went in at the break 15-12 up when Plymouth Albion centre Caitlin Short went over following a five-metre scrum, which had been earned after Lennox had been held up over the line.
Nearly straight after the restart, Topsham’s Dawn Latham-Mahoney scored a fourth try for Devon to put them 20-12 in front.
That became 25-12 on 60 minutes when dangerous Plymouth Albion winger Goddard ran half the length of the field after gathering a clearance kick to score in the corner.
It got better for Devon when Cullompton fly-half Charlotte Green crossed the whitewash after hooker Claire Knighton had stolen a Gloucetershire line-out 22-metres out.
Devon made changes late on and Gloucestershire scored two tries in the final five minutes.
Next up for Devon Ladies will be Surrey, who beat Berkshire 25-5 in their opening match. Devon’s game withSurrey will be played at Withycombe next Sunday (May 7).