Hampshire Edges Out Navy Rugby in Nail-Biting Finish

26 April 2023

19:30 @ Petersfield RFC

Senior Women XV


Hampshire Ladies

In a thrilling match at Petersfield RFC, the Navy Women's Rugby team suffered a tough 22-15 loss to Hampshire County.

The RN showed enterprise from the started start with Critchley-Peddle making two early turnovers and with Sopp and Dixon combining to release Ashby into space with accurate, looping passes. Hampshire's was first to infringe in kicking range and Sopp easily knocked over three points from in front of the posts to give Navy the early lead.

It was Hampshire who crossed the whitewash first. After the Navy opted for a scrum penalty in their own 22 and fumbled the ball, Hampshire pounced and scored. The Navy's fortunes went from bad to worse as they suffered an injury in the 20th minute. Fortunately Sondack left the pitch gingerly but under her own steam; the team would have to continue without her experience and lineout prowess.

Hampshire extended their lead with another try, working quick hands and phases down the pitch. Even the bone-crunching dominant tackle by Horne failed to slow the momentum. A high tackle penalty allowed Hampshire's scrum half to pick and go for their third score, putting them up 17 - 3.

Navy responded with some excellent phases, with Swain blowing away the tacklers and Ashby proving to be a handful with the ball in hand. Despite a missed penalty in the 39th minute, Navy went into halftime with hopes of a come back still alive.

It was Ashby who finally got Navy on the try list in the 49th minute, after a courageous run down the left following some impressive combination play by Dixon and McLoughlin. Hampshire quickly recovered with an almost identical try from their left wing, but Navy refused to capitulate.

Swain continued to be the go-to ball carrier during the last glut of phases, with a huge pass from Alderson finding Ashby, who came away with the score. However, despite some exciting plays and a huge effort from the Navy team, they were ultimately held up on the line in the 77th and 79th minutes, allowing Hampshire to ride the pressure and secure the victory.

It was a tough loss for the Navy, but a great game nonetheless, with both teams putting in impressive performances. The Navy Women's Rugby team can hold their heads high, and will undoubtedly be back with even more determination and drive for the season finale.

Captain Rose Dixon was pleased with how the players equipped themselves, “Really happy with how we performed on Wednesday, a big step in the right direction for us, whilst trialling out some new combinations. There’s still things we need to work on ahead of the Army game, so we’re all looking forward to getting back into camp to do just that.”

Head Coach said of the performance, "This game was an excellent last run out for us before Army Navy. We got to see a couple of players for the first time this season and tried out a couple of new combinations too. The players did really well to pick themselves up at half time and I felt we deserved the draw at the end. Hampshire proved an ideal opposition for us and I wish them well in their upcoming county season. For all the good we saw tonight, it’s tinged with some sadness due to the loss of Abi Sondack for the rest of the season, but I’m confident we have the squad to step up and perform in her absence. 

We get back into camp on Monday with lots of positives and some key work ons heading towards Twickenham in 2 weeks time."


Words by J Campbell-Baldwin

Images by Andrew Fosker and Mark Deller