Partridge try hat-trick as Topsham ladies win well

Chard and Topsham ladies before their meeting. Picture CHARD RFC

Chard and Topsham ladies before their meeting. Picture CHARD RFC - Credit: Archant

Topsham ladies proved why they’re top of the table with an emphatic 51-15 win over Chard this weekend.

Running in no fewer than nine tries, seven of which came in a dominant first half – five in the first 20 minutes - the team showed how much they wanted the win after drawing their previous encounter with the opposition the month before.

Chard didn’t even have time to take a breath from kick off when Meg Coombes plucked the ball out of the air and cut her way though the opposition, opening up the defence with ease and allowing a sublime series of offloads to release Emily Owen, who had the finishing pace to score within the first minute.

Two minutes later a similar pattern of play and smart organisation by the home side saw Laura Harris, playing out of position, at front row, charge through the gain line and score under the posts. With a comfortable 14-0 lead, Topsham looked to set their composure and control the game by maintaining the majority of the possession. Which they did in style, showing some of the best rugby the crowd had seen them play all season.

Fifteen minutes in and it was the backs’ opportunity to turn the screw. Chiefs academy player Chelsea Howard created her own space with a cheeky run out wide to score, followed, four minutes later, by leading points scorer this season, Rebecca Partridge. Fly-half Ann Webb, who had already slotted two conversions, added her name to the try scoring list and, 20 minutes in, the Tops had chalked up five tries!

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Partridge and Harris added two further tries to the tally, taking the home side’s points to 41, but Chard had the final say in the half with a try of their own.

After the break it proved to be a totally different affair. Partridge achieved her hat-trick of tries with a trademark dash around the outside and Coombes powered her way over the line with 10 minutes to play.

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However, Topsham’s women sat back for the majority of the second half, and, despite keeping up the tempo and maintaining their defence against a very physical opposition, lost some of their composure.

Chard exploited this lapse in concentration and twice went over the line, both times after a series of penalties from Topsham.

The second half saw the two teams draw 10-10; a completely different show from the first half, giving the Topsham team something to consider before going into the next league fixture against Minehead at the end of February.

In the meeting with Chard, the team performed superbly and Tasha Currie proved why she’s essential in the number seven shirt by selflessly taking out the Chard number 10 at every opportunity! Captain Corinne Walsh also put in a great show at 12, running strong lines, drawing the defence in numbers to create space out wide. Both players received the play of the match honours alongside Laura Harris, who yet again proved her strength and versatility in the scrum and helped the team start with the confidence they so desperately needed against such a physically strong opposition.

Chard should be commended for their passion and grit. The score line at half-time could easily destroy a team’s spirit but they weren’t to be defeated and their character and determination showed in the second half. The visitors were a real credit to their club.

Topsham are nearing the end of the league season, with three games left to play. However, they continue to recruit both new and experienced players as they work towards promotion. Contact for details.

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