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Report: Bristol Bears Women 26-26 Loughborough Lightning

A game of two halves at Shaftesbury Park saw the Bears clinch the bonus point in the first half, before a late Loughborough comeback rescued a draw for the visitors.

Hannah West, Jasmine Joyce, Rownita Marston and Kayleigh Powell all touched down for Dave Ward's side during a scintillating first 40 minutes, but Loughborough clawed their way back into the contest with tries from Helena Rowland, Lark Davies (2) and Charli Jacoby.


What happened?

The Bears were quick out of the blocks gaining the territory in Lightnings half to set up the attack. Quick line speed set Hannah West over the line for the opening try on the two-minute mark. Amber Reed booting the extras.

Moments later, Jasmine Joyce turned on the gas to race over the line for the bears second try in less than five minutes. Reed with the extras to take the hosts 14-0 ahead.

The third try looked to be in the making shortly later with Leanne Infante breaking through Loughborough’s defence and grounding over the line only for the referee to call play back for an earlier infringement.

Loughborough, looking to get into the game powered their way into the Bears half for the lineout. But a great steal from Alisha Butchers kept them clear. Going again after gathering the ball from the clearing, lightning edged their way closer to the try line but a huge defensive effort from the bears secured the penalty.

Third time lucky for Lightning allowed Helena Rowland to strike and clinch the first try for the visitors with the conversion narrowing the scores.

But the Bears were quick to answer back with a solid set piece in Lightning’s 22 making room for Rownita Marston to crash over the line for try number three. Reed with another boot to put the scores at 21-7.

Rallying the forwards a huge effort at the scrum for Lightning sent Lark Davies over the line for the try to narrow the scores once again with no conversion.

The Bears clinched the bonus point just before the half time mark after a beautiful stage of play set up Kayleigh Powell for the break to run clear for the try. Conversion missed but the Bears went in at the break 26-12 ahead.

Coming out for the second half, an arm wrestle broke out with neither side able to gain the upper hand to break the scores. In the 65th minute Davies broke her way through to score to narrow the scores with no conversion for Lightning.

Looking for a big final 10 minutes, the Bears tried to conjure up an attack in Lightning’s half but struggled to get over the gain line and get onto the scoreboard.

With the clock running down, Loughborough switched into another gear allowing Charli Jacobi to cross over the line for the try. The conversion levelling the scores leaving the final score all even.

Bristol Bears Women: 15. Kayleigh Powell; 14. Courtney Keight, 13. Phoebe Murray, 12. Amber Reed ©, 11. Jasmine Joyce; 10. Lucie Skuse, 9. Leanne Infante; 1. Simi Pam, 2. Hannah West, 3. Sarah Bern, 4. Delaney Burns, 5. Talia John, 6. Alisha Butchers (vc), 7. Manon Johnes, 8. Rownita Marston

System players: 16. Holly Phillips, 17. China Kill, 18. Ellie Mulhearn, 19. Hollie Cunningham 20. Siwan Lillicrap, 21. Keira Bevan, 22. Ella Lovibond, 23. Jenny Hesketh

Loughborough Lightning: 15. Georgina Tasker, 14. Carys Williams, 13. Bulou Mataitoga, 12. Emma Hardy, 11. Georgie Lingham, 10. Helena Rowland, 9. Jess Weaver, 1. Katie Trevarthen, 2. Lark Davies, 3. Christine Belisle, 4. Courtney Holtkamp, 5. Emma Wassell, 6. Hallie Taufoou, 7. Maja Meuller, 8. Rachel Malcolm ©

Replacements: 16. Bryony Field, 17. Leah Bartlett, 18. Gillian Bourke, 19. Abby Duguid, 20. Sara Svoboda, 21. Jenny Maxwell, 22. Helen Nelson, 23. Abbie Brown.

Bristol Bears: Tries – Hannah West, Jasmine Joyce, Rownita Marston, Kayleigh Powell. Conversions: Amber Reed x3

Loughborough Lightning: Helena Rowland, Lark Davies x2, Charli Jacoby. Conversions: Helena Rowland x3


Pick of the match: Lucie Skuse


Dave Ward reaction


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