Wednesday, 20 November 2013

BUCS Rugby: Swansea Uni Women 10-21 Bath Uni Women

Bath produced some gritty defence to dispatch Swansea and complete the double over their BUCS Western 1A rivals at a windswept Sketty Lane.

The visitors had no real right to win the match having been starved for possession and territory for the majority of the game, but clinical play in the opposition 22 ensured they won the battle on the scoreboard.

Two late tries Bath claimed in the first half was ultimately the difference between the two sides, with the hosts never recovering from the blow.

Bath’s fly-half Harriet Waller was the standout player for the English university side, notching up 11 of her side’s points through a try and six points from the tee.

In the first minute, a huge hit by Swansea back row Chante Lee set the tone for this brutal encounter that was dominated by the forwards, as conditions were unconducive for an expansive game.

Swansea started brightly but failed to make any of their attacking endeavours pay, with prop Amy Boyd gaining good yardage around the fringes, while scrum-half Rhian Perry injected much-needed impetus into Swansea’s attack.

And Perry nearly provided a crucial breakthrough for the hosts when, on the half hour mark, a quick tap penalty saw her evade multiple defenders, only for a great tackle from Bath full-back Chloe Dunbreck to deny her the whitewash.

For all of the Green and Whites’ domination they could not find the killer pass, while the opposition back line showed flashes of danger, with Dunbreck and centre Aly Stroud gaining ground with ball in hand.

With Swansea not making the most of their chances, the first opportunity Bath created they converted.

A Swansea lineout in their own 22 was lost with Llinos Honeybun sweeping the ball wide and, after several phases of play, Dunbreck showed great pace to get on the outside of the defence and dab down. Waller added the extras.

With halftime nearing, an aimless hack through from Bath caused chaos in the Swansea defence; Swansea full-back Meg Griffiths managed to gather the ball but the hosts had insufficient numbers at the breakdown, and Bath bagged a turnover that saw Honeybun race away to cross the whitewash. Waller slotted over the conversion for a halftime 14-0 lead.

The start of the second half saw Swansea determined to reduce their arrears, playing at a higher tempo that eventually paid dividends when Perry burrowed over after a quick tap penalty.

However, failure to regain the restart gifted Bath good field position and the English visitors took full advantage.

Waller received the ball in the opposition 22 and the Swansea defence was caught in two minds: centre Katie Jones rushed up while her team mates remained static, and, when Waller stepped the onrushing Jones, she proceeded through the large gap and crossed unopposed.

Flanker Emily Roberts and prop Boyd led by example as they refused to let their side’s heads drop.
Perry, having been at the heart of every Swansea attack, was once again involved in a second score. The scrum-half made headway with a quick tap penalty, with the ball eventually popping up for Jones to touchdown.

The final quarter of the match was a one-sided affair with Swansea very much on the front foot, but, Bath’s defence showed great grit and determination to hold their hosts out.


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