Gill Burns Women's County Championship Rugby - Division 2 Pool 4 match report

by Richard V Isaacs


Hampshire Women's hopes of progressing to the semi-finals of the Gill Burns Women's County Championship were dealt a significant blow as they were well beaten by a professional Essex side 43-17.


On a beautiful afternoon for rugby, the Essex side, made up predominantly from players from Thurrock and Romford, ran in seven tries in the comfortable win.


The writing was on the wall as early as the first minute when, from the kick-off, Hampshire threw up possession and the imposing Essex prop Cicci Kizito bundled her way over for the opening score.


Hampshire were struggling to get any foothold in the first ten minutes, gifting the Essex side possession too readily and they took full advantage.


Romford winger Amy Wakerley showed a fine turn of pace to outrun the Hampshire defence and the visitors were 12-0 before the home side had barely touched the ball.


Despite being stuck in heavy M25 and M3 traffic and causing the kick-off to be delayed by 15 minutes, Essex were showing no signs of car rust although they were caught on the counterattack midway through the half.


Trojans' impressive flanker Lisa Suffling rounded off a good move from Hampshire and burrowed her way to the line to get the hosts into the contest.


Two tries in the space of seven minutes from Essex and Thurrock skipper India Harvey pushed her side well clear and clinched the bonus point in just 27 minutes.


However, Hampshire did not give up hope and two tries either side of the half-time break sliced the arrears to just nine points.


Katie Wadeson of Trojans finished off a good move wide out just before the interval and, six minutes into the second period, Hampshire added a second.


The excellent Ellingham and Ringwood winger Kiera Paul-Jones, who only found the game three years ago after spending her childhood on an athletics track, showed her pace to soar to the line to give her side some hope.


But a brace of tries in quick succession to complete a hat-trick for the imposing Kizito, both from close range, made sure there was no hiccup in their process.


And one final score just before no-side from full-back Sally Tuson ensured Essex took the spoils and placed one foot into the semi-finals in a fortnights time.


Once again, it was a steep learning curve for the highly talented Hampshire side, who defeated Warwickshire superbly 17-5 last week but, against the strength and nous of the Essex side, coach Dean Lewis has plenty to work upon going forward.


Women's rugby in Hampshire is strong, with players from six different clubs - Trojans, Ellingham and Ringwood, Portsmouth, Basingstoke, Guernsey and Southampton - all represented and there is much to be enthused about.


HAMPSHIRE TEAM: Chloe Barrett (Ellingham & Ringwood), Becky Fenn (Trojans), Georgie Outhwaite (Portsmouth), Sarah Jenkins (Trojans & Royal Navy), Katie Wadeson (Trojans), Sarah Butler (Trojans), Hannah Kemish (capt - Trojans); Vicky Horsfield (Trojans), Rachel Twinning (Trojans), Sheree Cooper (Basingstoke), Clare Brown (Trojans), Jess Rudd (Trojans), Chardonnay Wilson (Trojans & Southampton University), Lisa Suffling (Trojans), Rachel Merrien (Guernsey). Replacements: Zena Colville (Southampton & Bournemouth University), Jade Passmore (Southampton), Moji Banjo (Trojans), Sarah Collins (Southampton), Emily Swales (Hove), Nina Hoadley (Ellingham & Ringwood), Kiera Paul-Jones (Ellingham & Ringwood).

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