Devon Ladies find champions Surrey too strong on the day
DEVON Ladies found reigning champions Surrey too strong for them on the day as they lost 48-7 at Withycombe in their second Gill Burns County Championships match.
Devon had beaten Gloucestershire away in their opening game, but Surrey were a different class altogether.
The visitors’ pace, power and support play was outstanding it helped produce a good advert for women’s rugby.
Devon had their moments in the match and did ask some questions of Surrey, but they could only manage one try.
That came in the ninth minute through Plymouth Albion winger Lilly Goddard, who showed her athletics track speed to pick up a loose ball on her own 22 and run all the way up field to score under the posts.
Goddard’s try came four minutes after Surrey had taken the lead with an unconverted try in the left corner through Zoe Smith.
With Charlotte Green converting Goddard’s effort, Devon did lead for 10 minutes and gave their more established opponents plenty to think about.
The visitors were reduced to 14 players on 13 minutes, but six minutes later then did regain the lead with a converted try under the posts by Laura Kapo after some good passing.
They crucially followed that score with two more within the space of three minutes to take control of the match.
Number eight Sam McCartney went over for their third try after some good support play. That was followed by a fourth straight from the restart after a brilliant run by flanker Libby Pavey.
Devon did have a good spell and number eight Liz Richards kept making good ground, while Surrey were always wary of Goddard’s pace out wide.
But just before half-time Surrey scored again to go 31-7 up, with hooker Vicky Boothman supporting well to touch down.
Surrey were reduced to 14 players again for 10 minutes just after the break but they managed well.
And on 48 minutes they scored down the left through Smith again.
That was followed by further tries by Fran Hall and Kirsty-Lee Griffiths.
Devon, though, never gave up. They came agonisingly close to scoring in the 74th minute and then produced some really good defence.
Next up for the Green and Whites will be a trip to Berkshire, who narrowly beat Gloucestershire 22-21 at home on Sunday having lost to Surrey last week.
Devon: 15 Lauren Mueller (Topsham), 14 Dawn Latham-Mahoney (Topsham), 13 Megan Higgins (Plymouth Albion), 12 Caitlin Short (Plymouth Albion), 11 Lilly Goddard (Plymouth Albion), 10 Charlotte Green (Cullompton), 9 Charley Wright (Cullompton), 1 Donna Downes (capt, Plymouth Albion), 2 Claire Knighton (Cullompton), 3 India Chambers (Withycombe), 4 Tilly Higgie (Plymouth Albion), 5 Charlotte Harvey (Topsham), 6 Gemma Parish (Cullompton), 7 Amy Alford (Cullompton), 8 Liz Richards Cullompton). Replacements: 16 Chloe Dawe (Plymouth Albion), 17 Elena Wallis (Newton Abbot), 18 Corinne Walsh (Topsham), 19 Natasha Currie (Topsham), 20 Sophie Kukor (Topsham), 21 Rachel Popham-Dowle (Topsham), Emily White.