Surrey were crowned winners of the first ever Women’s County Championships, defeating Lancashire 32-17 at Twickenham Stoop.
In a notably physical game, Surrey showed plenty of attacking intent and were able to hold off a late Lancashire fightback.
The first half of the match was a fast past paced affair, with the home team Lancashire gaining possession within the first few seconds of the first half to take the lead with an early penalty to put them 3-0 ahead.
With pace and agility Surrey were able to come back into the game after an impressive try from full back Izzy Joris but Lancashire continued with their attack as both teams continued to be dominant and determined in their exchanges.
A converted try from Lancashire put them back in front 10-5 but Surrey responded with a try from Prop Chloe Edwards 10-10.
Approaching the end of the first half, Lancashire’s resilient defence was not enough to hold off Surrey and they went ahead 10-17 after a try from No 8 Sam McCarthy and conversion from fly half Jayne Goodliffe.
With all the momentum now with Surrey, particularly in the set pieces, prop Chloe Edwards was able to crash over for her second try just before the half time whistle to give them a 10-22 lead at the break.
Surrey looked to be running away with it after half time, with a second try for McCarthy taking the score to 10-27 and then Davinia Monteiro 10-32, but Lancashire continued to battle on and were rewarded when centre Emily Stirzaker crossed the line to narrow the margin.
Despite Lancashire's best efforts with the score on the final whistle 17-32 to Surrey following a needle match game which showcased the strength and ability of the county players.
Surrey were awarded their trophy in front of a strong crowd at Twickenham Stadium during half time in the Old Mutual Wealth Cup match between England and Wales.
“Young or old, male or female, county rugby is one of the great elements of our game built on tradition, rivalry and pride," said Helen Duggan, chair of the Women's County Championship Committee
"Creating the County Cup and Plate competition, we draw on its passion with the sole aim of helping to develop players and the women’s game across the regions. We will learn lots from this first year to improve the Cup and Plate so they, hopefully, become a pillar of County rugby in their own right."