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Hartpury University achieve the ‘three-peat’ of BUCS Women’s National League Championships

Hartpury University secured the ‘three-peat’ of BUCS Women’s National League Championships in style with a 34-22 victory over Loughborough University.

Two tries from player of the match Amy Dale and scores from Olivia Constable, Daisy Aspinall, Clara Grizzle-Johnson and Anouk Veerkamp ensured the West Country side returned home with the silverware.

The lights were not too bright for Hartpury as they secured the three-peat of Women’s National League Championships. Source: Henry Ollis-Brown.

The spirited Loughborough side stayed within distance throughout via scores from Sally Williams, Kendall Waudby, Isla Curphey and Freya Greensmith, but ultimately it wasn’t enough.

Hartpury opened the game impressively early on with a classy 50-22 kick from Charlie Manns but were unable to capitalise on the gained territory.

With the early momentum behind them, Hartpury could not be denied for long as Dale scored off a powerful rolling maul ten minutes in. Manns conversion was successful, giving the West Country side a 7-0 lead.

Hartpury scored in the exact same fashion seven minutes later, with Dale’s blood replacement Constable the beneficiary off the immense rolling maul this time. Manns’ conversion went wide.

The African Violets had no answer to Hartpury’s flowing attack and couldn’t prevent another brilliant move that resulted in Aspinall dotting down in the corner. Manns’ kick was unsuccessful.

Loughborough finally parted the red sea of Hartpury 25 minutes in with a phenomenal effort from the number eight Williams, who outpaced her opposite wingers down the right flank and scored with ease. Alex Baker converted to reduce the deficit to 10 points.

The reduced deficit did not last long however, as Grizzle-Johnson dotted down in the right-hand corner after a smooth miss pass left her free to score with five minutes left of the half.

The half was by no means finished, however. A terrific solo effort from Loughborough hooker Waudby, who left her opposite full back in the rear-view mirror down the right flank, put the African Violet side within 10 points.

Seemingly angered by the lapse of concentration, Hartpury quickly made amends as Dale scored her second try of the day by crashing over the whitewash from close proximity. The sides went in at the interval with the score 27-12.

Loughborough started the second half emphatically as sustained pressure within the Hartpury five-metre line finally paid dividends, with Curphey reaping the rewards off the pick and go.

Loughborough continued to pile on the pressure on the reigning champions, and a breakdown infringement by Hartpury’s Anouk Veerkamp saw her sent to the sin bin with 18 minutes left to play.

The African Violet side capitalised on their player advantage with 12 minutes remaining, as Greensmith’s burst of pace down the right wing had her opposite number completely beaten, and she finished off her superb solo effort in the corner.

With only five points between the sides, the final minutes of the game were a thrilling display of rugby that demonstrated exactly why Hartpury were the reigning champions.

With Loughborough holding all the momentum, Sophie Davies produced a title-saving tackle to prevent a brilliant Loughborough attack from scoring.

Loughborough then had the ball at the scrum with two minutes on the clock, but an immense Hartpury effort resulted in a penalty just to the right of the posts.

Although Manns’ effort at goal bounced off both posts, the clock struck 80 minutes and the final was in its dying embers.

It was all but finished, but Hartpury wished to make sure, as Veerkamp powered over the line in the last play of the game to clinch the three-peat.


  • Ricky Westaby

    Ricky Westaby is the American Football editor for the Sports Gazette. Originally inspired by the Blind Side’s ‘true story’ to get into American Football, learning its dark truths was a crushing reality. However, the passion was already instilled. A QPR fan born and raised in West London, his other main areas of focus will include football and rugby union. @RWestaby_SG