by Richard Early
USW Women’s 1st progressed to the quarter-final of the BUCS Trophy after defeating Oxford Brookes Women’s 1st 10-7 at Sardis Road.
Niamh Tinman went straight into USW’s starting line-up on her return from injury, although Nina Moore missed out through injury.
The match’s opening opportunity came within two minutes, through Tinman. The scrum-half dashed down the right wing, before producing a forward pass that led to Harriet Braithwaite crossing the line and the try was disallowed.
USW’s pressure continued and play hadn’t left Oxford’s half, five minutes in, as hooker Jordan Hopkins stormed over from around five metres. The try was scored several metres away from the left post and Jasmine Hare’s angled conversion sailed wide.
With 11 minutes gone, there was a long stoppage in play while Oxford’s Georgia Newstead was treated and action didn’t resume for around half an hour. Both teams went back to the changing rooms and once out again, had to rewarm.
Although, the hosts’ dominance continued once play resumed and it didn’t take long for them to be awarded a penalty inside the opposition 22-metre area. Tinman tapped and went before offloading to her forwards, who collectively worked towards the line and after several phases, Keely Ward powered over. The conversion was taken again from a tight angle, left of the posts and Hare kicked astray.
Due to play being delayed for so long, the referee decided to play only 20 minutes rather than 40 per half, as USW Men’s 1st were to face off against Swansea University Men’s 1st later.
After the interval, it took ten minutes for USW to come close to a third try. Tinman sped right across her own 22-metre area, before being tackled and from the resulting ruck, Georgia Evans broke away. The flanker shrugged off a couple of covering defenders, before striding into the visitors’ half and once in their 22-metre area, she was tackled by inside centre Mia McCreesh, prior to knocking the ball forward.
In the closing stages, the visitors attempted to get their opening points while having a penalty advantage, as McCreesh tried a dropkick from distance that went under the posts. Play was brought back to the right wing for the penalty, which was just metres from the hosts’ line and Emma Leeds tapped and went, before seeing her side awarded another penalty from a similar position. The scrum-half tapped and went again and the ball eventually found prop Ellie Angove, who somersaulted over. McCreesh successfully converted, which reduced USW’s lead to three points and set-up a tense conclusion.
However, the hosts remained resilient in defence and kept play out of their own half for the remainder, progressing to the BUCS Trophy quarter-final for the first time ever. They will face BUCS Western 1A League leaders Cardiff University.
USW Women’s manager and captain have their say post-match
Mark Hutton (Manager): “People see the end product on game day, but these girls particularly are working hard in training. We’re really reaping the awards from that sort of effort.”
Freya Jones (Captain): “A victory is always a massive confidence boost regardless of whether it’s in the League or Cup: it’s a game at the end of the day. We’ll keep trotting on and we don’t want to get complacent, so it’s important that the girls keep their feet on the ground.”
USW Women’s 1st: Braithwaite, Attwood, Pratt, Tedstone, Croke, Hare, Tinman, Ward, F. Jones, Evans, Adams, Arcangioli, Francis, Hopkins, Cox. Subs used: Evans, Birden, Butler, S. Jones. Subs not used: N/A.
Oxford Brookes Women’s 1st: O’Brien, Hansen, Loney, McCreesh, Saverton, Williams, Leeds, Etheridge, Newstead, Gravell, McReddie, Burton, Angove, Biba, Black. Subs used: Lawfull, Hopkins, Lloyd, Oldmeadow. Sub not used: Strickland, Blackwell.
Star player: Niamh Tinman
(Featured Image: Tom Pritchard)