Devon Ladies push Berkshire all the way in final group match
DEVON Ladies pushed Berkshire all the way in their final Gill Burns Women’s County Championship group game at Maidenhead.
Both sides went into the match having beaten Gloucestershire and lost to champions Surrey.
And the game proved extremely tight with Berkshire narrowly winning 19-13 to finish as pool runners-up.
Devon did spend the last 20 minutes of the contest on the offensive but just could not get over the whitewash to snatch a win.
The visitors took the lead in the eighth minute with Plymouth Albion winger Lilly Goddard once again showing her impressive speed to sprint down the wing and score in the corner.
Devon full-back Lauren Mueller had to make a great try-saving tackle after a good break by Berkshire’s Hayley Matthews.
However, not long later the home team did score, with flanker Phillipa Robinson getting the ball down. Natasha Holmes converted to put Berkshire 7-5 up.
The match was evenly matched for the next 10 minutes. Devon did make a good break on 25 minutes with Goddard helping them go from one 22 to the other, but they could not finish the move off.
And Berkshire made them pay by scoring a second try when Holmes took a quick tap penalty to touch down. She also converted her try to make it 14-5.
Devon reduced the gap on 36 minutes with a penalty through Charlotte Green.
However, the visitors suffered a big blow on the stroke of half-time when Berkshire number eight Megan Horwood crashed over the try line to make it 19-8.
Devon came out for the second period fired up. On 46 minutes, Berkshire were reduced to 14 players for 10 minutes when Rachel Humphries was yellow carded for a deliberate knock-on.
The visitors thought they had taken advantage with a break by Charlotte Green who off-loaded to Indian Chambers, however, the referee pulled play back for a forward pass.
However, Devon kept the pressure on and eventually did get the try they threatened. From a 15-metre line-out they drove. Captain Donna Downes was stopped just short before Devon recycled and fly-half Green was able to side-step her opposite number to score and make it 19-13.
Devon threw everything at Berkshire in the final quarter. In the last five minutes they were particularly close to scoring on a number of occasions but some desperate defence by Berkshire kept them out.
Devon: 15 Lauren Mueller, 14 Lilly Goddard, 13 Megan Higgins, 12 Caitlin Short, 11 Tay Osuntukun, 10 Charlotte Green, 9 Charley wright, 1 Donna Downes (Capt), 2 Claire Knighton, 3 Issabelle Jackson, 4 Tilly Heggie, 5 Sophie Kukor, 6 Gemma Parish, 7 Amy Alford, 8 Corinne Walsh. Reps: 16 India Chambers, 17 Elena Wallis, 18 Natasha Currie, 19 Liz Lennox, 20 Claire Vickery, 21 Rachel Popham-Dowle