It was another long journey for the Penryn ladies, as they travelled away to Somerset to take on North Petherton in their latest National Challenge Oneleague fixture.

Although the final result was not what they had hoped for, the team from Cornwall came away with their first points of the new year in a hard-fought encounter that was more evenly matched than the score would suggest.

It was the visitors who started the strongest, putting pressure on the home side from the kick-off and pinning them in their half for the opening minutes of the game. Strong carries from the forward pods worked the ball well into the oppositions 22, where it stayed phase after phase with forwards and backs interlinking well. However, despite the relentless pressure, Penryn just could not find a gap in the North Petherton solid defences.

Eventually, a handling error from Penryn resulted in a scrum to the home side, which allowed them to use the boot to win back territory. At first, Penryn held solid in defence with some superb cover tackles from the full-back Read, until a dubious penalty led to a superbly worked line out move, which won North Petherton the first score of the match with a converted try.

This gave the home team confidence and from the restart, they caught the ball cleanly and drove it straight back into the Penryn half, with a combination of strong forward carries and well-run backs moves. Penryn defended with passion and heart and managed to fend off one attack, tackling the North Petherton player out of the dead-ball area before she was able to ground the ball.

However, following the goal line drop out, the home side were able to spin the ball out quickly to their wing and run around the Penryn defensive line to score their second try that they were unable to convert.
Penryn were not going to make things easy for the home side however and came back even stronger this time from the restart. By putting pressure on the home team, Penryn were able to force errors from the opposition, which allowed Penryn to use their forward strength to work the ball upfield into a good attacking position.

With North Petherton on the back foot, Penryn centre Hawkins was able to power through the resulting gaps in defence to run over the line for their first try, which was successfully converted by McKelvey. The rest of the first half was very evenly matched, with some crunching tackles coming in from both sides and some threatening attacks that neither side could take advantage of.
The second half did not start as strongly as the first for the side from Cornwall. Despite taking the ball cleanly from the kick-off and working the ball up into the oppositions half, a timing error led to an excellent interception and first score under the posts to North Petherton, and an easy conversion.

The home team, buoyed by their early score took the game to the visitors, who lost their earlier composure allowing them to get the ball into the attacking zone with some intelligent kicking and well-worked centre runs. Injury enforced changes to the Penryn scrum saw the usually solid pack falter and give away possession, setting the Petherton back line up to run in another try, which was successfully converted.

Penryn were not down and out just yet though and showed immense determination to claw back the score. With the Penryn scrum resettled and stronger, a series of blindside runs from scrum-half Dennis, linking in with the backs got the ball back within touching distance of the home team’s try line.

Efforts from forwards including back row Saberton, second-row Bosustow and number 8 Derrante, who all got close to scoring but it was eventually prop Evans who powered over from close range to touch down and give the visitors their second score, sadly unconverted.

The home side came back to close out the game with more great kicking and passing from their fly-half who controlled play well to get back into the Penryn half.

The Cornish ladies defended tirelessly and held the Somerset team off for as long as they could, even on the line but their attack proved too strong in the end and it was from another goal line drop out that they were able to once again pass the ball out to the wing and score the final try of the match. 

This was followed up moments later when further pressure from North Petherton gave them a penalty in the Penryn half, which they were able to convert. Despite a last-ditch attack from Penryn, who refused to give up until the final whistle, the match ended 32-12 to the home side.

This match showed how the Penryn Ladies are moving forward all the time, improving their stamina, strength and skill in this quality league with each outing. They have a lot of work on still as they move on to their next match, a home encounter with second-placed North Bristol, but the team spirit is high and the outlook is positive for the future matches this season.