READING Abbey Nuns ran out 12-7 winners against a determined Guildford side in Championship South West Two.

It was the Nuns who applied early pressure to the visitors in this top-of-the-table clash, with intelligent kicking from captain Annette Bevan and fly-half Abi Wall pinning Guildford back inside their own half.

The Nuns' defence was good, forcing easy turnovers which soon resulted in a swing in attacking play – good handling skills from centres Alice Denton and Karen Pacho allowing wing Caroline Shepherd to cross in the corner for the home side's first try.

After an early lead, the Nuns lost some composure as a team and the number of handling errors mounted, allowing Guildford to get a foothold on the game through a series of scrums.

The visitors' strong forwards tested the Nuns defensive systems, which were led by new signing Karen Pacho, keeping Guildford at bay.

Shepherd was unlucky not to complete her brace after a quick turnover allowed her to hare down the wing, stopped by a determined tackle from Guildford's full-back.

Eventually, the away side broke their deadlock by intercepting a loose pass between the Abbey backs, and their fly-half Gracie New showed a good turn of pace to dot down under the posts; scoring a try which was duly converted.

Moments later however, a solid Abbey scrum, a stronghold of the Nuns' game, allowed No. 8 Annabel Hawkins and scrum-half Ellie Rice to release Bevan on a well-worked move, who crossed to pull her side back into the lead once more.

The second half saw Abbey enjoy most of the possession and territory, but the home side were unable to turn these into additional points.

Careless handling errors impeded their game and their closest attempt at scoring came through good forward phases led by flankers Fern Edgar and Alice Lawrence, the latter of whom was held up over the line.

Substitutes Fi Manning and Jess Williams made good impacts when they entered the fray, but it was Abbey's defensive efforts once more which thwarted Guildford from equalising.

Indeed, at a pivotal moment, Guildford flanker Spencer Hastings broke the line from a second interception pass, but the home side's scramble defence was good enough to force an error and see out the match as winners.