THIS season’s final home fixture for Kingsbridge Ladies was a very tough 19-5 win over Plymstock Oaks, a well-established, friendly club with a thriving women’s set-up. 

From the outset it was clear that their Devon-capped players were hungry to put some manners on Kingsbridge’s new but ever-improving team. The Oaks’ transitional play in the opening 10 minutes suggested this could be an extremely testing afternoon for the Blues. It did not quite play out that way. 

Some slick handling saw Oaks hurtling down the wing for an almost certain score before the talismanic Hayley Hopkins put in a try-saving tackle that seemed to lift, inspire and delight her teammates. From this point on, Kingsbridge began to tackle with dominance, with huge hits going in from Zoe Clacy, the typically resolute Maddie Grant and skipper Emma Hemmins. 

With such stout defence it was not long before Kings turned a ball over in contact and Maddie set off on a rampaging run through several tackles. Oaks’ own defence was similarly brave and feisty, and they did well to hold Maddie up over the line. Chloe Inch and Alex Pears put in fine defensive displays and attacked well but Oak’s defence held true. 

Two more home-grown talents came off the bench and were immediately thrown into defensive duties, Daisy Womack and Chloe Hemmins were excellent all game long, defending and attacking with aplomb and, more importantly, with huge smiles on their faces.

The valiant Blues stole a scrum from their opponents’ determined pack and some quick thinking, slick handling from Daisy and Hayley saw the latter scorch over the line to a huge cheer from the appreciative crowd. 

The game remained extremely tight. Another brilliant line of running from Chloe saw her evade several tackles. She was stopped just short of the line but her efforts were not in vain as Daisy pounced on a loose Oaks pass and dotted down another well deserved try, which she duly converted. 

Oaks kept their composure well and, far from feeling despondent, they redoubled their efforts and scored after a period of sustained pressure in spite of the brave defence from Lucy Harris, Laura Shute and Fi Hutchings. 

In the final minutes, Kings upped the pressure on Oaks and Daisy intercepted a loose pass from the Oaks’ scrum-half to score the game’s final try. 

This was a terrific game to watch. It was extremely competitive but a game of great quality and played in a good spirit. Grimaces turned to smiles at the end of a tough encounter. This Kingsbridge team is ready to move out of the Inner Warrior series and, if their progress maintains its current momentum, they can look forward to many more happy days at High House.