Rugby girls give national winners a scare
Coach Mark Dobb said he was proud of his Newark Rugby Club under-18 girls’ team, despite a 36-7 defeat in the National Cup final.
They led at half-time after a battling first-half display, but Pulborough’s skill and physicality proved too much in the second period.
The Newark girls, crowned North-ern champions a few weeks ago, had been hoping to emulate their 2016 success when they were national under-15 champions.
Newark, running an under-18 team for only a second season, played the final in front of 2,000 people at Ealing, ahead of the Tyrell’s Premier 15s Final between Saracens and Harlequins.
Dobb said: "It was a great experience for the girls and they put in a tremendous effort.
"Just to get to the final was a great achievement.
"It was a quick-paced game and we gave them a scare.
"Pulborough were well drilled and physically bigger, so we were defending for most of the time.
"However, we were leading 7-5 at the break, which gave them the wobbles, before their quality shone through in the second-half.
"We could not have asked any more of the girls. They all put in 100% and we can be proud to say we are the second-best team in the country."
The final, frenzied and fierce throughout, saw Newark take a fifth-minute lead when Jess Weaver raced away off a break from Alex Clack.
Evie Gregory added the conversion to give Newark a 7-0 lead.
They defended for their lives in the first-half and only conceded one try before half-time.
Newark might have grabbed a second try when Clack burst clear, but the move broke down.
Pulborough moved ahead midway through the second period and ran in four more late scores to deny Newark national glory.