Cheltenham ladies remained unbeaten and went clear at the top of Championship south on Saturday with a win over main rivals Thurrock ladies, eventually beating them 34-15.
Tigers started strongly with some fierce defence from captain Jess Elbeck and won a string of penalties that put them in the driving seat. After several strong attacks in the first 10 minutes, the deadlock was broken by Laura Hale who fittingly opened the scoring on her testimonial. She took a penalty quickly from the 10m line and managed to weave her way through and just about had the pace to beat the Thurrock full back.
The first half continued in that vain and was all Tigers. Chantelle Goldsworthy, who caused mayhem in the midfield all day, danced her way for the 2nd try. Quickly followed by winger Lauren Williams noticing a mismatch out wide and going over in the corner. Stand in full back Suzie Walker then finished off a perfectly executed backs move before half time. The visitors were only able to add 3 points in answer, going in at half time 22-3 down.
The visitors were obviously given a stern talking to at half time as they came out firing and had long periods of possession and made ground through their strong running centres and full back. The Thurrock pressure paid off and they narrowed the score to 22-10.
Cheltenham finally got some ball back and made ground with strong runs from Fran Strong, Meg Lavill and Meg Reid. Then after a storming maul that came up just short of the line, replacement Beth O’Brien went over from short range. Goldsworthy added the extras.
Thurrock managed to break out from long distance to make the score 29-15 with 15 to play. But it was Tigers who had the last word with a clean break from replacement flanker Maddie Massey from her own half, who had the pace and stamina to finish the job!
Celebrations of both the win and Laura’s testimonial continued that evening with a fantastic amount of money being raised for Mike Crisp and MND. The ladies now have a break from the league but travel North to West Bridgford on Sunday 15th, with the hope of taking their good form into the senior cup.