Woodbridge Amazons narrowly lose thrilling top-of-the-table clash with Harwich Owls

Woodbridge Amazons 14 Harwich Owls 24
Robyn Gordon tackles Kimberley Hutchins

Woodbridge Amazons 14 Harwich Owls 24 Robyn Gordon tackles Kimberley Hutchins - Credit: Archant

Women’s National Championships East 1 Woodbridge Amazons 14 Harwich Owls Ladies 24 Woodbridge Amazons were replaced at the summit of the Women’s National Championship East One Division table after coming up just short in a thrilling home clash with Harwich Owls Ladies on Sunday.

Woodbridge Amazons 14 Harwich Owls 24
Victoria Felstein passes to Beth Kinlan

Woodbridge Amazons 14 Harwich Owls 24 Victoria Felstein passes to Beth Kinlan - Credit: Archant

This top-of-the-table meeting exceeded all expectations and proved a cracking spectacle.

The Amazons sat proudly atop the division, having begun the season in fine style, but the Essex visitors were right behind them and arrived at Hatchley Barn in a determined mood.

From the outset the hosts looked powerful and showed why they are a serious force. Driving at their opposition and forcing repeated penalties, the opening 10 minutes were frenetic.

The visitors gradually forced their way into the match and even opened the scoring when winger Laura Westlake sprinted over after possession was stolen at a breakdown. Fly-half Annalise Allan kicked the conversion for a 0-7 scoreline.

Woodbridge Amazons 14 Harwich Owls 24
Rosie Kay chases Carmel Leak

Woodbridge Amazons 14 Harwich Owls 24 Rosie Kay chases Carmel Leak - Credit: Archant


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That score galvanised the Essex side, especially having sustained so much early pressure. Westlake enjoyed another burst, only for Robyn Gordon and Anna Dewberry combining to thwart her second opportunity.

Allan extended the lead from short range for try number two, but missed the conversion as the visitors gained confidence.

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The league leaders weren’t about to be bossed, especially at home, and forged back. Carmel Leak, at centre this week, broke free and surged forward. She was held up just short but Dewberry was on hand to grab the offload and open the Amazons’ scoring under the posts. Gordon kicked the conversion and the half ended at 7-12 and anybody’s game.

In the second half it was the visitors that reacted best and they extended the lead. Number eight Sam Worthington scored out wide as the Harwich pack sucked in defenders and creating space out wide.

The Amazons stepped up a gear with repeated forays into the Harwich half and forward of the match Maggie Kelly was first to every breakdown as the hosts threw everything into each attack.

Leak grabbed a try, converted by Gordon, to reduce the deficit to 10 and the comeback looked on. Wave-after-wave of Woodbridge pressure resulted in frustrating knock-ons though and the visitors were able to see out the match.

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