Welwyn girls’ clinch regional championship before rugby season ends early

PUBLISHED: 08:57 23 March 2020 | UPDATED: 08:57 23 March 2020

Some of the thriving girls section at Welwyn Rugby Club.

Some of the thriving girls section at Welwyn Rugby Club.

Archant

The season may now have come to an end but one thing at least is set in stone and can’t be removed from the record books – Welwyn Rugby Club’s U15 girls are once again the London & South-East regional champions.

The accolade came their way with a 34-10 success over Horsham in a match played at Harpenden’s Redbourn Lane ground.

And it mirrors their success of last year when they eventually got to the national final, just missing out on the title on that occasion.

In an ideal world they would now be preparing for another national semi-final but that has now disappeared following the RFU’s decision to end the season prematurely.

But the squad, many of whom were in the side from 12 months earlier, were still worthy winner of this regional competition.

They had dominated the pool stage with three wins and 196 points scored before beating Cambridge 75-7 in the quarter-final.

When it came to the semi-final against Medway, tries from Sophia Botterman, Grace Webster, Katie Drage, Emily Hughes, Natalie Randall, Millie Hare and Livi-Grace Hunt plus a conversion from Ruby Chesterman-Smith gave them a 37-0 victory and secured passage to the final.

It was a focused Welwyn that took to the artificial surface at Harpenden for that game and with the scrum looking solid they opened the scoring with a try for Drage.

Great covering tackles from full-back Hare prevented a fired up Horsham replying quickly and Welwyn had a score from Madeline Robb ruled out for offside before Cayla Du Plessis did get a second try, this one converted by Chesterman-Smith.

Drage added a third before half-time but that was cancelled out by a Horsham score and a second try from the Sussex side made it 17-10 early in the second period.

But Welwyn showed great composure and after resetting themselves and Abbie Ambrose and Hunt put the game beyond Horsham’s reach, with a conversion kicked for good measure.

And with Darcey Lythall prompting from scrum-half Welwyn were able to maintain the pressure, wrapping the game up with a powerful drive from Randall.

Maggie Bristow was awarded the player of the match award for Welwyn, more than making for her disallowed try in the semi-final.

Welwyn U15: Abbie Ambrose, Abbie Percival, Cayla Du Plessis, Charli Knibbs, Charlotte Lawrence, Clare Feeney, Darcey Lythall, Emily Hughes, Grace Webster, Jess Walker, Katie Drage, Livi-Grace Hunt, Lucy Bloomer, Madeline Robb, Maggie Bristow, Mia McHale, Millie Hare, Molly Mellett, Natalie Randall, Rachel Neilson, Ruby Chesterman-Smith, Sophia Botterman.

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