County under-15 girls' side make impressive start to the season
DEVON under-15 girls got their season underway with a festival against Cornwall, Somerset and Gloucestershire at Tavistock RFC.
This season the RFU have introduced a compulsory two-format festival approach with the girls partaking in 15-a-side games and also sevens matches.
Devon split their 32-player squad across both formats, with rotation occurring in future festivals to ensure opportunity across both the 15-a-side and sevens games.
The morning saw three 30-minute 15-a-side games for each county played on two pitches.
First up for Devon was Gloucestershire, who they beat 38-0. Within the first minute debutant Alex Tamlin intercepted a pass to go half the length of the pitch and from there it was one-way traffic. Further tries came from Tilly Ryall, Alice Hornby, Beth Dawe and a brave one from Evie Walker. Daisy Womack converted three of the tries.
Second up was old rivals Cornwall, who are much rejuvenated from previous seasons. Devon found themselves defending for much of the game, but eventually broke the deadlock with a try from Evie Walker.
Cornwall piled the pressure back on with their strong runners making inroads but a turnover from Izzy Partridge and Molly Thomas saw a fantastic length-of-the-pitch team try excellently finished by Danielle Preece. Cornwall scored a late consolation but Devon hung on for a 12-5 victory.
Finally, Devon faced Somerset, to whom they have been second best up until last season. Despite a break for an injury to Izzy Partridge, Devon strung together some excellent phases with the Phillips sisters prominent in creating them. Tries from Beth Dawe, Tilly Ryall, Caitlyn Yeandle, Molly Thomas and Millie Sinclair-Thompson sealed a 27-0 victory and 100 per cent record for the XV squad.
The afternoon saw the sevens squads play a round-robin event on the Tavistock first XV pitch in front of a large crowd.
Devon started emphatically with Rebecca Squires scoring a three-minute hat-trick helping Devon record a 47-0 win against Gloucestershire. Gemma Cadle and Corri Friend were among Devon’s other try scorers, with Niamh Shirley excellently adding six conversions.
Second up saw a Cornwall side perhaps more suited to 15-a-side rugby and despite conceding first Devon remained calm and created some excellent tries utilising the space given to them in the sevens format. Ella White stared proceedings with a fine solo effort before Corri Friend, Rebecca Squires and Gemma Cadle added to the Green and Whites’ tally.
Finally, Devon went down to an excellent Somerset sevens outfit, who had a little too much pace for the hosts. Eva Lewis capped a fine performance with a try and Ella White doubled her tally.
Much thanks must go to Tavistock RFC for hosting a brilliant day in glorious sunshine and producing equally excellent food and also to the DRRS for supply perfect officiating all day.