Keeble ends Banbury’s hopes at the leaders

Ali Knight gets ready to pounce for Banbury Belles at Witney Angels
Ali Knight gets ready to pounce for Banbury Belles at Witney Angels

Banbury Belles produced a gritty display in Sunday’s 22-10 defeat at Women’s National Challenge Midlands Two South leaders Witney Angels.

Belles put Witney under pressure spending much of the period in their 22. The wet conditions forced Banbury to play a forward orientated game with Witney struggling to contain a fitter, more mobile and organised pack.

Angels soon cracked under the barrage of pick and goes leading to their skipper being shown a yellow for repeated infringements at the breakdown. Banbury again pressed hard with the tap and go but Witney managed to hold them out.

The home side were gifted an interception running from deep in their 22 to score under the posts.

After the restart Banbury looked to push the ball wide but the final pass kept getting away. Another intercepted pass saw Witney go 12-0 up.

That fired-up Belles and they battled up the middle of the pitch working good lines around the corner. Seeing space, skipper Keeli Wood shot over.

Witney brought on Frankie Keeble who twice beat the cover defence to take the Angels into a 22-5 lead. Banbury got another penalty in the 22m and a well worked move from the tap and go saw prop Steph Crawfheld held up but Wood managed to get the ball down at the second time of asking.

Banbury played the better rugby but Witney ground out the win and, that is why they are top. Mel Beckerleg and Catherine Bennett both impressed for Banbury.