Ashfield Ladies were narrolwy beaten following a battling display against league leaders Old Leamingtonians in their final match of the year.
The first half demonstrated the good rugby that could be played by both sides.
Ashfield’s defensive work was exceptional, and they managed to convert this into possession by turning the ball over on numerous occasions, principally by hooker Kat Ford and number 8 Leanne Reeves.
Captain Danii Booth was also at her best, kicking well to relieve pressure and successfully counter rucking.
Old Leamingtonians got their chance to put points on the scoreboard 20 minutes into the first half when they were awarded a penalty.
The ball rebounded off the posts and, with Ashfield in possession, they made headway to their own try line but were bundled into touch.
Winger Steph Hancock continued to work hard in defence, forcing errors, and flanker Elena Martin-Lopez consistently made a nuisance of herself all over the park and the first half ended 0-0.
The second half got underway, with both teams starting strong. Old Leamingtonians, frustrated by their lack of visits to the try line, finally got three points following a penalty.
Despite further hard work by Ashfield, including strong runs by prop Mandy Taylor and reliable carrying by second row Eve Byrne, Old Leamingtonians scored on the left wing and converted the try.
The final 20 minutes brought out the dominant characteristic of each side, as Ashfield pulled together as a team and demonstrated superb rugby,
Old Leamingtonians became more aggressive and ill-disciplined.
Whilst several visits to the try line by Ashfield proved unsuccessful, their perseverance was finally rewarded.
From Ashfield’s own half, Booth tapped another penalty and offloaded to Nicola Wallace who smashed through the Old Leamingtonians defence.
Consistent recycling of the ball and excellent support running saw Dearing over the try line, with Chip Harrison nailing the difficult conversion.
With minutes left, Ashfield attacked again. A succession of penalties were awarded to the home side, but despite a spirited team effort, they were unable to reach the try line again as they slipped to a narrow defeat.
Ashfield are always looking for more ladies to join them, if you are aged 18 years upwards and would like to try a new sport in 2017, please email firstname.lastname@example.org