DEVON women proved too strong for Cumbria, scoring nine tries in their convincing 53-12 victory to secure the Gill Burns Division 3 County Champions title, writes Hannah Boyle.

After an even start between the two teams, Devon’s strength showed in the second half with a massive impact from the bench helped the Devonians secure their win.

The first try was started and finished by Devon winger Charlie Hopkin. She gave her team territory with an arching run down the wing. The forwards advanced before quick passing found Hopkin again and she darted down the outside to score in the corner.

A wraparound ball between Cumbria’s flyhalf Sarah Smyth and inside centre Lucy Branthwaite was then passed to Lily Hodgson, who popped the ball back inside to put fullback Bethan Royd in the corner. Branthwaite added the extras from the touchline to put Cumbria in the lead 7 – 5.

Devon fly-half Mollie Pepper then made a break to get in the opposition's 22. She was brought down by Cumbria’s Bethan Lloyd, but Pepper popped the ball up to support runner Abby Woollett who scored under the posts and restored Devon’s lead.

Devon scored another soon after when prop Charlotte Gale powered over to extend Devon’s lead 15 – 7.

In the 35th minute, Devon prop Enya Surtees received a yellow card, but Cumbria failed to capitalise on their advantage.

Kicking for goal
Kicking for goal (Contributed)

After half-time, Devon struck first as they played the ball out of their own 22 and Hopkin ran the length of the pitch to dot down under the posts. Surtees added the extras making it 22-7.

Phoebe Reed dove over from close range to score, which Surtees converted.

Cumbria’s penalty count mounted, resulting in Leanne Grave receiving a yellow card. Devon capitalised through two tries in two minutes from Number 8 Megan Heath, who ran hard lines for both tries and brought the total to 41-7.

Next, a stunning individual try from Chloe Huxter then a moment of individual brilliance from Pepper brought up the half-century for the Devonians.

The final say of the game went to Cumbria when Hayley Hodgson intercepted a Devon pass and won a foot race to score under the posts.

The final score was 53-12 and Devon were the deserved winners of the Gill Burns Division 3 Final.

Greg Richards, Devon women’s head coach, said: “The second half was really good. We picked a squad where we knew we could bring some really strong players on at half-time and they opened up the game.

“It’s been brilliant to be with the team over the past few weeks. They’ve worked so hard, and we’ve got so many clubs represented. When we did the original squad, we had nearly every squad in Devon that had a player in it.

“They’ve come together and worked really hard. We’ve got better every game and they’ve really gelled. We had lots of young players in our team too – two players had just turned 18 and the whole front row were under 20 so there’s lots of hope for next year too.”

To see all the results from the County Championship Finals visit or follow @RFU on X to see all the in-play highlights.