Shepherd leads way as Havant flock dominate
Havant Ladies cruised to a 53-0 win over Jersey Reds in the RFU Women's National Challenge south two.
Abbie Pearson scored a hat-trick of tries in the success at Hooks Lane.
Jess Valentine, Nette Petley, Hannah Masterson, Kirsty Hopkins and Hannah Roberts were also on the scoresheet in the comfortable triumph.
However, star of the show and Box Fresh player of the match was second-row Jodie Shepherd.
Having moved from the wing this season, she has been improving with every game.
Against Jersey, Shepherd made a number of big tackles and consistently crossed the gain line with the ball in hand.
Havant set out their stall early on – with some very strong attacking from the start.
The home side worked the phases well and soon had their noses in front with captain Roberts touching down.
Jess Codrington then took a fantastic catch from kick-off and ran the length of the pitch only to be thwarted by some strong Reds defence.
Havant had to work hard for their next try but very quickly added a third through Petley.
She ran a fantastic line to cross the whitewash before Hopkins added the conversion for a 17-0 lead.
The Reds were not giving up, though, and strong rucking saw the visitors steal possession and enjoy a period on the front foot.
Havant stood firm, though, and after a knock-on they took control again.
The backs were continually breaking the gain line – but it was forward Masterton who delivered a fantastic leg drive to make it 22-0.
Shepherd then ripped the ball from a rival following a Jersey lineout to tee up another Havant attack.
Valentine made a powerful break before selflessly offloading for Pearson to score her first try of the game.
After half-time, Pearson went on to score twice more and add a conversion to make it 39-0.
Jersey were still refused to roll over, though, and put the home side under plenty of pressure in the second half.
They were camped deep in Havant’s territory but couldn’t make the possession count.
And the hosts punished them with a further score and conversion to make it 46-0.
It was all hands to the pump again as Havant held up a potential Jersey try soon after.
And having regained posession, it was Valentine who capped the scoring with a try and conversion.
Petley, Masterton and Pearson were all in impressive form in the success.
However, there was no doubting it was Shepherd’s day.
Havant will welcome Basingstoke in their final home league fixture of the season on Sunday, March 25.
They return to Hooks Lane for a friendly with Guildford on Saturday, April 21 (midday).
That clash will act as a curtain-raiser to the men’s first team’s final home game of the London one south season against London Cornish.