After a tough month with 2 back to back league losses, the Tiger ladies got back to winning ways with a 7 try win over mid table Blackheath, which keeps them top of the table.
Cheltenham started very strongly with some big hits in the first few minutes eventually leading to a knock on from the visitors. From the base of the scrum, no 8 Bryony Narbeth picked and went blind and managed to run it in for her first score of the day. Converted by Emma Mundy.
The Tigers continued to string phases of possession together and it was not long before they got over the line again, firstly by captain Jess Elbeck who scored from a break out wide after Cheltenham stretched Blackheath from width to width. Then Laura Hale took a quick tap penalty, and although was tackled by an offside Blackheath player, managed to offload the ball to winger come back row Lauren Williams who raced in to score. Mundy had her kicking boots on and converted both.
Blackheath had a period of possession but never really troubled the strong Cheltenham defence, and again from a turnover, Bryony Narbeth broke from inside her own half to score under the posts. A nice period of interplay between Emma Mundy and Laura Hale then saw Mundy go over just before half time, to take the score to 35-0.
The second half started just as strongly with the tigers receiving the ball from kick off and setting up just 1 phase before Bryony Narbeth sprinted 60 metres to score her hat-trick. Again converted by Emma Mundy.
Blackheath had a lot more possession in the second half and a light weight Cheltenham pack struggled in the scrum against a more experienced front row. The away team won several scrum penalties but never really capitalised on this and chose to take the scrum at every penalty, regardless of positon on the pitch. The addition of Laura Haines and Emily Kingston to the front row steadied the ship somewhat and a frustrated Blackheath could not get any territory or decent ball from their strong scrum.
After getting some possession back, it wasn’t long before Cheltenham scored again. A lovely identification of space by fly half Bee Mocellin, saw her put a well-placed kick over the Blackheath defence which Emma Mundy raced after and beat everyone to score. She maintained her 100% kicking record for the afternoon to take the final score to just shy of a half century. Full time score 49-0.
The Tigers remain top of the table but Thurrock are only 3 points behind with a game in hand, so the race for the Championship title will come right down to the wire over the next 2 months, but regardless Cheltenham’s young side will be rejuvenated by this impressive win.