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Winger LBdr Jess McAuley (RA) was at the double as Army Women produced a fine 41-5 victory at home to British Police.

The Red Shirts had the better of the territory early on, both sides making handling errors as the rain fell in Aldershot, and took the lead when Fus Emily Griffiths (R Welsh) charged down an attempted clearance kick to touch down under the posts.

She slotted a simple conversion, and the hosts moved further in front when a fabulous 60-metre charge from Gnr Amy Carr (RA) took her side from just outside their own 22 into the opposition’s.

A further strong carry from No. 8 Capt Sally Bellhouse (RAVC) brought Army closer to the line, and there was no stopping Cpl Sophie Benavent (QARNC) from powering over for her side’s second score.

The hosts moved further in front just before the half-hour mark, Sgt Heidi Silcox cutting a fine line and then dancing past several defenders before unselfishly sending Carr away for the easiest of finishes.

While the two previous tries owed much to individual brilliance, the fourth was a superb team effort as the Red Shirts showed the quality of their handling and continuity play, the ball shipped all along the line before Welsh rugby league international McAuley touched down on the left.

Griffiths’ conversion attempt had the accuracy but lacked the distance from out wide, but she made amends after Sgt Louise Dodd’s (QARNC) marauding midfield charge led to McAuley finishing well for her second.

Trailing 31-0 at the interval, it was the Police who started the second stanza the stronger, spending a long period of play in the Army 22 until Maj Anneka Willis (RE) was sin-binned for an infringement near her own line.

And despite some resolute defence, the red wall was eventually broken from close range as the visitors got on the scoreboard with an unconverted try.

The Army’s response was swift, however, Spr Lauren Brooks (RE) charging through before releasing captain SSgt Jade Mullen (AGC (SPS)) to cross, the full-back showing her strength with a strong hand-off before finishing the move well towards the end of the third quarter.

And it was Brooks who grabbed what would be the final score midway through the final quarter, the flanker unstoppable from close range.

A determined Police side continued to battle and had the better of the final 10 minutes, but their opponents’ defence was excellent all evening and refused to yield for a second time in what was an encouraging victory.

Army Women take on England Under 20s at Havant RFC this Saturday (5.30pm).

Words © Richard Ashton

All images – Alligin Photography © Mark Deller


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