Withycombe Ladies left to rue missed opportunities

PUBLISHED: 10:05 20 February 2019

Jen Brammer with ball in hand for Withycombe ladies during their meeting wth Minehead Barabarians. Picture PHOEBE PRETTY-MCGRATH

Jen Brammer with ball in hand for Withycombe ladies during their meeting wth Minehead Barabarians. Picture PHOEBE PRETTY-MCGRATH

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Withycombe ladies were edged out by a margin of three points in their latest league game, going down 24-21 to Minehead Barbarian ladies.

Jen Brammer with ball in hand for Withycombe ladies during their meeting wth Minehead Barabarians. Picture PHOEBE PRETTY-MCGRATHJen Brammer with ball in hand for Withycombe ladies during their meeting wth Minehead Barabarians. Picture PHOEBE PRETTY-MCGRATH

A win would have been a huge step to securing a second place finish in the league for Withycombe, but missed opportunities were to be their undoing.

Both teams started with attacking intent with forwards making the early inroads and quick switches out to the backs; however, there were a catalogue of handling errors from both sides that broke up play.

Withycombe had the best of the early exchanges. From a kick in behind her, Back of the Match Bridget Culver gathered and jinked passed several onrushing players before putting a kick through for Jen Brammer to chase. Brammer was dragged down agonisingly short and Withies then set up camp on the Minehead line.

A touch of ‘whiteline fever’ crept in as numerous overlaps were ignored and the visitors were able to clear.

Ten minutes in and another attack saw Withies awarded a penalty.

A tap was taken and great hands from Molly Tregedeon set KC Williams clear on the right wing. The covering defender put in a dangerously high tackle that left the referee with no option but to award a penalty try.

Another period of possession and territory saw Danni Philips eventually cross only for the ref to state that she had been held up.

Again Withies set up camp with Sian Williams hitting some ferocious tackles to peg back the visitors, but again Withies missed opportunities to extend their advantage.

Minehead seemed to gain confidence from all this and they always looked dangerous with ball in hand. They slowly progressed up the pitch and then, with the Withy defence scattered, were able to cross for an unconverted try.

Their second came soon after from concerted pressure in the Withies 22.

This time a pick and go from a metre out was enough to see them take the lead 7-10 at half time.

The loss of Kerry Sprague to a shoulder injury in the first half did not help Withies’ cause, but did mean that Danni Brown could make her league debut.

Charlotte Carter and Emma Chandler returned to the pack; the latter making some surging runs, along with Carol Glover, Terrianne Densham and captain Becky Stephens, whilst forward of the match Tanya Webber was outstanding as hooker as well as in open play.

Minehead dominated the start of the second half; however, they continued to give away regular penalties due to high tackles.

They scored two converted tries that seemed to have taken the game away from Withies, but the Exmouth side are most dangerous when they are angry!

Eventually the ref lost patience and, after yet another warning, began to issue yellow cards.

Katie Down, as scrum half, kept the pace of the game going as Minehead were down to 13 players and Withies applied more and more pressure.

Rachel Mortimer was about to cross, but yet another high tackle led to the second penalty try and yet another yellow card.

Withies pressed again and Laurie Ranft’s burst of pace and perfect offload saw Harley Paver touchdown for Mortimer to convert with three minutes of the match remaining.

Withies pressed again, but eventually time ran out and they were left to rue the lack of aggression earlier on. With two games remaining Withies now sit third.

Their next game is home to Bideford on March 3.

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