WINDSOR Dames have finished third in the Women’s National Challenge League this season after a 27-14 defeat at Newbury in their final match on Sunday.

The Dames had a score to settle with Newbury following their previous meeting earlier on in the season. That match had been incredibly close with Newbury winning by less than one score.

The first half was exciting and vastly unpredictable with both teams playing aggressive in attack and defence.

The home pack broke through to score three tries but that is not to say Newbury were allowed an easy win.

The second-half saw Windsor welcome back former captain Tori Hawkey, who led the Dames in the two previous seasons, and it was a stunning return.

Barely five minutes after fly-half Cherelle James kicked-off, Hawkey scored the Dames’ first try, playing with characteristic skill and as part of the team, almost like she had never been away. The try was converted by Rachel Humphries, who went on to touch down herself.

Despite considerable competition in the pack, Windsor successfully formed a maul off a lineout, drew the Newbury players in, and took advantage of the overlap to carry the ball over the line. James added the conversion.

Sadly this was not enough to defeat Newbury. The well drilled opposition pulled even further ahead after making several stunning breaks.

The Windsor Dames came away from the game with plenty to think about and much more to work on ahead of next season, however their work is not done yet.

Windsor go to Royal Wootton Bassett for their second successive National Junior Plate final against Harrogate on Saturday, April 1 (11.30am).