Gloucester-Hartpury make it two in a row

Gloucester-Hartpury make it two in a row

A dominant second-half performance from Gloucester-Hartpury saw them become back-to-back league winners, as they ran out 36-24 victors over Bristol Bears at Exeter's Sandy Park this afternoon.

After an intense opening quarter, played predominantly in the middle of the park, it was the Bears who opened the scoring in the left-hand corner.

Wing, Courtney Keight, crossed after some neat hands from her inside backs to put her away. Amber Reed couldn’t add the extra two from the touchline. 0-5.

Gloucester-Hartpury fought back and got on the scoreboard themselves when talismanic captain, Natasha ‘Mo’ Hunt linked up with Bethan Lewis to cross for the Circus. Emma Sing’s conversion nudged them into the lead for the first time. 7-5.

Bristol were straight back down the other end and had set up a strong driving maul, which Gloucester-Hartpury looked to have done well to halt, but Sarah Beckett was penalised for entering at the side.

The Bears turned to the maul again, and this time couldn’t be stopped, with Lark Atkin-Davies burrowing her way over. Reed’s conversion fell wide again. 7-10.

Just before half-time, Atkin-Davies’ fellow Red Roses front-row, Hannah Botterman, crashed over to further extend Bristol’s lead going into the break. Reed’s conversion was good this time. 7-17.

Half-time: Gloucester-Hartpury 7-17 Bristol Bears Women

A big second-half performance was needed from the Cherry & Whites, and they certainly responded well, with Bethan Lewis looking like she’d picked up a score. However, the TMO intervened for an alleged double-movement, chalking the try off.

The Circus kept at it though, and Pip Hendy, who has enjoyed a remarkable breakthrough season in Cherry & White, continued her try-scoring form to open the half’s scoring. Sing nailed another conversion to cut the deficit to just three points with twenty-five minutes left on the clock. 14-17.

Sing, provider for Hendy’s try, turned scorer minutes later, after a couple of Bears penalties had allowed Gloucester-Hartpury easy field position. Tatyana Heard pulled the ball out of the back to Lleucu George, who lifted the ball to the full back to score. She kept her 100% record off the tee, as she converted her own try from the left of the uprights. 21-17.

The Circus had their tails up now, and not to be outdone by her back-three partners, Mia Venner added another Gloucester-Hartpury try after a sublime flat pass from George. Sing’s conversion took her to four from four from the boot. 28-17.

With just over ten minutes left, Hannah Jones scrambled over to keep the scoreboard ticking over for Gloucester-Hartpury. Sing’s effort fell wide for the first time in the afternoon. 33-17.

Bristol kept their foot on the gas, scoring a late try, but a penalty from Sing a minute from time ensured the trophy stays in Gloucestershire for another year.

Full-time: Gloucester-Hartpury 36-24 Bristol Bears Women

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