MATCH SUMMARY – BATH RUGBY Ladies 44-13 SUPERMARINE LADIES
Bath Rugby Ladies treated a crowd of approximately 3,000 with a stellar performance, seeing off Supermarine Ladies 44-13.
In their first competitive fixture at the Rec following a men’s fixture, Lucy Peters scored the opening try for Bath with Supermarine’s Natalie Williams and home fly-half Sarah Holloway trading penalties in a nervy first quarter.
Trish Brown had the fans on their feet with her score before the break and Lucy Steward cut the deficit for the visitors.
Thereafter the hosts were in full control. Nina Edwards scored a second-half hat-trick while birthday girl Bethan Wakefield and Megan Wynne both crossed under the posts.
Holly Edmonds rounded things off in the final 10 minutes to end an extremely special occasion on a huge high.
The biggest story going into this match is that of captain Holloway. The team’s top points scorer this year, the fly-half has been with Bath Rugby Ladies since their formation and featured for the 253rd time for the club.
Bath Rugby's Schools Co-ordinator, Hannah Meek, was named in the centre for John Gould’s side.
Bath Rugby Ladies: 15 Lucy Peters, 14 Bethan Wakefield, 13 Hannah Meek, 12 Sam McDonald, 11 Nina Edwards, 10 Sarah Holloway ©, 9 Abbie Watkin; 1 Megan Wynne, 2 Hannah Stephens, 3 Trish Brown, 4 Emma Quarterman, 5 Clea Fawcett, 6 Ellen Witt, 7 Robyn Price, 8 Daisy Peace-Lyons
Replacements: 16. Abi Jones, 17. Nat Lewis, 19. Mairead Mcerlean, 20. Sam West, 21. Olivia Critchley, 22. Holly Edmonds, 23. Emily Codd
Supermarine Ladies: 15 Sarah Humphries, 14 Ellen Thorton, 13 Lucy Stewart, 12 Natalie Williams, 11 Antonia Wozencroft, 10 Louise Gray ©, 9 Rachael Kidner; 1 Katie Harte, 2 Hannah Walton-Kinross, 3 Heather Catherwood, 4 Nicci Kewell, 5 Katy Hancock, 6 Theresa Bickell, 7 Sami Way Gooch, 8 Claire Chard
Replacements: 16 Samantha Briggs, 17 Yasmin Dowell, 18 Laura Schulze, 19 Bel Martin, 20 Gaby Bickell, 21 Zoe Stewart, 22 Harriet Pearson
The two teams came into the game with opposing fortunes, with Bath having soundly defeated their initial opposition, enjoying two wins from their opening two games. Meanwhile, Supermarine find themselves rooted to the bottom of the table, with a couple of difficult games thus far.
Backed by a healthy audience of near 3,000, Sam McDonald’s exceptional dummy and teased a tremendous try but excellent scramble defence by Supermarine thwarted the early opportunity. Soon after, Bath did cross the whitewash. Great hands to the wing allowed Peters to pick her line, sprint through a gap and jink past the full-back for the score.
Supermarine come roaring back, opting for a tap and go from a penalty. Their drive was strong and after a succession of hard lines, they earned a chance to get on the scoreboard and Natalie Williams stepped up to convert from the tee.
The fabled Bath front-row connection came into life moments later as hooker Hannah Stephens and props Brown and Wynne combined to send the latter on a break. Supermarine were forced to illegally halt the hosts and Holloway stepped up to make it 10-3.
The first big ‘oooh!’ from the crowd came as flanker Ellen Witt stopped away skipper Louise Gray in her tracks with a crunching tackle ahead of a second Williams penalty. Bath’s response was brimming with attacking intent but the Supermarine defence continued to hold well with wing Ellen Thornton putting in two last-ditch tackles either side of a great hit on Bath scrum-half Abbie Watkn by Supermarine’s Number 8 Claire Chard.
Just short of half-time and the game really opened up; Bath’s expansive rugby led to a strong hand off and break from Meek and after another try-saving tackle, Brown made no mistake by crashing over from close range to raise the crowd once more.
The second half started as the first ended – Bath on top. Gould’s side whipped the ball out to the left and Edwards drove inside to acres of space. Her pace was too much for the Supermarine defence to recover and she made it to the line for a perfect start to the 40.
Again Supermarine asked questions of the Bath defence following superb forward work, outside centre Steward darted through a gap to touch down for the away side’s first try of the match.
Both sides found themselves consistently trading possession in the aftermath, with watertight defence from either side meaning Meek’s relentless running was the only semblance of daylight in a five-minute period. However, Bath made the most of their opportunities when they did come. Zipping possession wide, Wakefield came in off her wing to sprint to the line.
Immediately after, Wakefield was forced off but received a rousing rendition of ‘Happy Birthday!’ (“The best birthday I’ve ever had!’” the wing said post-match), the singing only interrupted by an brilliant dart through the middle by Stephens. Her dynamic offload to Wynne resulted in a fifth Bath try.
The floodgates had opened, and Bath tightened their grip on proceedings. Another sequence of strong handling and Edwards raced into the corner. In full flow and bursting with flair, Bath were relentless. Replacement Emily Codd found space on the left-hand side of Supermarine and when she took the contact, her peripheral vision meant she creatively passes to Edwards who made no mistake in the corner to complete her hat-trick.
In what was a 15-minute smorgasbord of exceptional attacking rugby, Bath advanced once more from an attacking line-out and Brown almost added her second but it was replacement Edmonds who capitalised on a tired Supermarine defence.
Relentless attacking verve and dynamite hands meant that once Bath Rugby Ladies found their feet they looked unstoppable. They often found a near-impenetrable Supermarine defence in their path, however all credit to the home team for playing spellbinding rugby at times. A fantastic advert for the Women’s game.