65 minutes of sustained dominance from Service sadly proved too little as Tewkesbury refused to back down in the dosing moments by clinching an agonising try, narrowly come out on top with a result of 19-22, the closest ever score between the local rivals.
After an evenly matched first quarter, Service worked every inch to put the first score on the board by opening up Salome Ash to dot down on the line following a number of hard forward phases. Tewkesbury were keen to catch up, opting for a cool penalty conversion in front of the posts after a number of mistakes in the host’s 22.
Service responded well from the restart. A combination of strong scrummaging and tactical switches handed fly-half Jacqs Haines an opportunity to exploit the gaps and dart into the right hand corner for the second try of the match. Shortly before the break, Tewkesbury had found their momentum by using strong drives in midfield to break through numerous tackles; rewarding them with their first try score.
Spirits were high going into the second half with prolonged periods of smooth passes and excellent vision. A dangerous run from Jacqs was brutally extinguished from Tewksbury, giving Service the overlap from a yellow card soon after the restart. Snapping up a loose ball, Georgie Keene was able to add to the try tallies following a quick dash up the wing from the halfway line.
Service worked well to shut down attacking lines with rapid speed from centres Lucy Burnett and Tzara Marriott whilst efforts from the pack were not to be dismissed with Lucy Wood, Becky Parsons and Ash Steyn amongst others all causing chaos in the ruck area.
Tewkesbury continued to test in midfield and catching Service off-guard, displayed a clean pair of heels straight for the posts, eagerly chased but with no avail from Service. Despite the try, victory post-match pints were In sight as the Final whistle was looming upon a nail-biting 19-15 finish. Tewkesbury never gave up the fight however, denying Service their first win of the season In the dying seconds following a well-executed slice through the midfield defence.
The final score and near-win reminded Service of how much they have reinvented !heir game since last season. Big praise to the boot of Amber Coxhlll who converted two out of three try’s from tricky angles, along with the rest of the team who all put in a real committed effort and no doubt reserving their seats on the “rugby bus”
The Service Ladies travel to league debutants Hardwicke & Quedgeley next Sunday, excited to bring a similar level of skill and physicality to the game.
Forwards: Helen Stanton, Lucy Wood, Becky Parsons, Flora Hodges, Elly Holliday, Salome Ash, Amber Coxhlll, Ashlyn Steyn, Katie Lake, Faye Walton, Sarah Schachhuber Bond, Lauren Dransfield
Backs: Ali Jones, Jacqs Haines, Tzara Marriott, Lucy Burnett, Cat Wallace, Lisa Lanoett, Georgie Keene, Carmel Belcher
Try scorers: Salome Ash x1, Jacqs Haines x1 and Georgie Keene x1 Conversions:Amber Coxhill x2
Forward of the Match: Salome Ash
Back of the Match: Cat Wallace
Tewkesbury’s Wo(man) of the Match: Georgie Keene