BERKSHIRE LADIES bounced back from their opening defeat of the season by edging a 22-21 victory over Gloucester, writes Fiona Tomas.

The first half saw Gloucester race into the lead after scoring two tries in the first 20 minutes, as Berkshire were slow to react and find their feet.

Tash Holmes put Berkshire on the scoreboard when kicking a penalty, before Chloe Baker dotted down for the Royal county after finishing in the corner. A successful conversion followed which meant Berkshire went in at the break trailing 14-10, but with the momentum in their favour, as two more try-scoring opportunities went missing.

Rachel Humphries added another in the second half after impressive handling skills, before Abbey’s Alice Denton – who ran superb lines all day – scored on the hour mark, which was again converted.

But the last five minutes saw a resurgent Gloucester score and convert through their wing. who beat three tacklers to cross the try line, but Berkshire held on to claim a hard-fought win.

Tash King was rewarded for her superb kicking by being named the back of the match, while Meg Horwood won captain’s player through her strong line breaks and tackles.

After the win, Berkshire coach Hannah Edwards said: “After a slow start to the game the girls fought extremely hard to secure the win, with some nerve racking final minutes. Gloucester are an extremely strong side pulling from good clubs and narrowly beat us last year in an away fixture.

“Rugby in Berkshire is getting stronger year on year and we are delighted with the support we have received from both the clubs and the board to keep pushing forward.”

l BERKSHIRE men lost their opening County Championship game 19-13 to Sussex on Saturday.

They travel play Dorset & Wiltshire at Royal Wootton Bassett RFC on Saturday.