MATCH REPORT: Combined Provinces v The Thistles
The Thistles suffered a 45-12 defeat against a clinical Combined Provinces XV outfit in their second match of the Celtic Challenge at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast.
The Combined Provinces opened the scoring in the early stages of the game, as centre Leah Tarpey powered past multiple defenders to score, with Dannah O’Brien converting the score [7-0].
The home side increased their lead with a second try on 18 minutes, as Claire Bennett crashed over from close range, with O’Brien slotting the conversion through the posts [14-0].
Maeve Óg O’Leary got the home side’s third try on 31 minutes, as Emma Orr’s attempted clearance was charged down and seized by Og O’Leary and the flanker was able to apply downward pressure for the try, with O’Brien adding the extras [21-0].
With pressure building, Combined Provinces sensed another opportunity before the break and were able to captialise when prop Linda Djougang cut through before offloading to Aoife Dalton, the centre fed Ella Roberts, the winger broke a tackle to race over in the corner but O’Brien couldn’t convert from a tight angle [26-0].
The Thistles rallied and were able to retaliate with a minute to go, as Panashe Muzambe spun the ball wide to Francesca McGhie, as the winger sped over from just inside the 22 for an unconverted try to cut the Combined Provinces lead at the interval [26-5].
HALF-TIME: Combined Provinces XV 26-5 The Thistles
The hosts were able to apply pressure at the beginning of the second-half, but The Thistles defence was firm and brought to a halt several attacks.
As the visitors were trying to exit their own 22, some well-worked hands gave Sarah Denholm the opportunity to float the ball out to McGhie who then accelerated down the pitch to score under the posts, with Emma Orr converting [26-12].
The Combined Provinces replied five minutes later, as O’Connor broke from the base of a scrum, Dalton ran a great line to come onto the ball just inside the 22 and went under the posts unopposed with O’Brien converting [33-12].
The hosts continued to dominate proceedings and were able to strengthen their position in the game when winger Roberts scored her second try of the match but O’Connor failed to convert [38-12].
Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird powered her way over for a try on 71 minutes, as the flanker got the ball on the 22 and held over six attempted tackles to reach the line and ground the ball with captain O’Connor converting [45-12].
Combined Provinces XV: Ella Durkan; Clara Barrett, Leah Tarpey, Aoife Dalton, Ella Roberts; Dannah O’Brien Molly Scuffil McCabe; Niamh O’Dowd, Jess Keating, Linda Djougang, Claire Bennett, Fiona Tuite, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Maeve Og O’Leary, Hannah O’Connor
Replacements: Emma Hooban, Mary Healy for Djougang 58 mins Megan Collis, Eimear Corri for Bennett 58nmins, Sophie Barrett for Tuite 66 mins, Katie Whelan for O’Brien 63 mins, Kayla Waldron for Tarpey 66 mins, Maeve Liston for Barrett 66 mins
The Thistles: Roma Fraser; Rachel Philipps, Holly McIntyre, Emma Orr, Francesca McGhie; Sarah Denholm, Mairi McDonald; Panashe Muzambe, Elis Martin, Elliann Clarke, Charlotte Boan, Natasha Logan, Eva Donaldson, Erinn Foley, Freya Walker
Replacements: Nikki Simpson for Walker 52 mins, Poppy Fletcher, Lindsay McDiarmid for Foley 51 mins, Kiera MacDonald, Alex Stewart, Rhea Clarke for McDonald 59 mins, Ceitidh Ainsworth, Hannah Walker for Phillips 66 mins
Combined Provinces: Tries: Leah Tarpey 4 mins, Claire Bennett 18 mins, Maeve Og O’Leary 31 mins, Ella Roberts 38 mins, 65 mins mins, Aoife Dalton 51 mins, Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird 71 mins; Cons: Dannah O’Brien 4mins,18 mins, 31 mins, 51 mins, Hannah O’Connor 71 mins.
Scottish Thistles: Tries: Francesca McGhie 40 mins, 46 mins; Cons Emma Orr 46 mins.
Image credit: Inpho Photography