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Report: Bristol Bears Women 10-39 Harlequins Ladies

A first half hat-trick from Heather Cowell inspires Harlequins Ladies to down Bristol Bears Women, 10-39, on a disappointing afternoon for the hosts at Shaftesbury Park. 

What happened?

Harlequins began the game in the ascendancy and had an early opportunity to take the lead as they set up a driving maul only five metres from the Bears' line, however, the Bears defence had other ideas as Jeanine Stephenson bullied her way through the maul to force a turn over. 

The Bears defence would not hold out for much longer as on the twenty-three minute mark the ball spilled out the side of a scrum and was fed through the hands to winger, Heather Cowell who fended off the covering tackle of McNaney to finish in the corner. 

The hosts responded well and found themselves inches short of the whitewash after a fantastic break from Lucy Attwood, but the Bears were met by a resilient Quins defence, who forced a knock on on their line. 

Captain Clara Nielson led from the front throughout the first period and she almost managed to burrow her way over the line, but Quins held firm yet again.

Clara Nielson carries into contact (via JMPUK).

Cowell would cross for a further two tries in the first half, the first coming from a length of the field break by Quins and the second after Shaunagh Brown broke through the midfield and the ball was kept alive by hosts for the winger to dot down in the corner.

The Bears came out fighting in the second half and strong carrying from Poppy Leitch and Daisie Mayes in particular gave the Bears go forward ball, however, Quins went on to open the scoring in the second period with Zoe Saynor powering over from short range. 

Bristol responded with their first score of the game as Elinor Snowsill intelligently drew two players on the blindside to set off Mayes, who crashed over the line to give the Bears a faint glimmer of hope. 

Harlequins quashed any hopes of a Bears fightback with three scores in the final ten minutes as Georgia Newman, Shaunagh Brown and Bethan Dainton all crossed to seal the game. 

The Bears would have the last say in proceedings as a driving maul collapsed metres from the line and Caity Mattinson whipped a pass out to Lilly Stoeger-Goddard in acres of space on the right wing to dot down.


Bristol Bears Women:

15. Merryn Doidge, 14. Lilly Stoeger-Goddard, 13. Lucy Attwood, 12. Lucie Skuse, 11. Cat McNaney, 10. Elinor Snowsill, 9. Caity Mattinson; 1. Jess Thomas, 2. Clara Nielson (C), 3. Jeanine Stephenson, 4. Kate Newton, 5. Hollie Cunningham, 6. Ebony Jefferies, 7. Poppy Leitch, 8. Macenzie Carson.

Impact Players: 16. Charlie Budge, 17. Michaella Roberts, 18. Esme Bird, 19. Daisie Mayes, 20. Kyara Martin, 21. Becky Hughes, 22. Brooke Clarke.

Harlequins Ladies:

15. Emily Scott, 14. Heather Cowell, 13. Stacey White, 12. Rachael Burford (c), 11. Georgia Newman, 10. Ellie Green, 9. Leanne Riley; 1.Vickii Cornborough, 2. Davinia Catlin, 3. Shaunagh Brown, 4. Abbie Scott, 5. Zoe Saynor, 6. Kristine Sommer, 7. Chloe Butler, 8. Jade Konkel.

Replacements: 16. Chloe Edwards, 17. Teya Ashworth, 18. Deborah McCormack, 19. Fiona Fletcher , 20. Jade Mullen, 21. Sarah Cornforth, 22. Bethan Dainton

Photo of the match:

Daisie Mayes crossed for her first TP15s try this season (via JMPUK).