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Report: Bristol Bears Women 26-43 Harlequins Women

Bristol Bears Women secured their place in the Allianz Premier 15s play-offs despite slipping to defeat at the hands of Harlequins in front of a record-breaking crowd at Ashton Gate.

Manon Johnes touched down late on to secure the bonus point they needed to seal a top four finish, but a hat-trick from Quins' Amy Cokayne and further scores from Ellie Kildunne, Heather Cowell, Shaunaugh Brown and Jess Breach completed a commanding win for the visitors.

Sarah Bern, Delaney Burns and Jasmine Joyce ensured the Bears wouldn't leave empty-handed, but it wasn't to be for Dave Ward's side in front of 4,101 supporters in BS3.


What happened?

A strong opening half for the Bears saw them make the headway with Amber Reed slicing her way through Harlequins defence, but a turnover on the 22 kept them away from board.

Harlequins answered back making the break out wide and an inside pass from Jess Breach to Ellie Kildunne put the fullback away for the opening try.

Jasmine Joyce marked her return to a Bears shirt with a blitzing run out wide but was cut short to deny the wing any points.

Another chance for the Welsh wizard came moments with a big run backed up with support from the pack. A chip over the top from Keira Bevan who had Courtney Keight on her outside to turn on the chase to apply the pressure on their opponents to come within inches of the line only for the visitors to claim possession.

Harlequins battled back and had the chance to extend their lead moments later after setting up an attack in the Bears 22 led to a try from Amy Cokayne.

But the Bears answered back triumphantly with a huge attack in Harlequins 22. A powerful driving maul from the pack sent Sarah Bern over for the try. Amber Reed converting to narrow the scores.

Cokayne was over for the double on the half hour mark to keep the board ticking over for the visitors.

Harlequins bagged the bonus just before half time with a try out wide from Heather Cowell. No conversion out the score at 7-22 at the break.

With work to do in the second half, Bristol struggled in the opening stages with Shaunuagh Brown crashing over the line for the visitors.

But the hosts dug in deep and a dive over the line from Delany Burns put the Bears into double figures.

Momentum shifting with the Bears, Joyce’s chance at the line finally came with an offload from Kayleigh Powell finding the wing’s hand to race over the line for the try. Reed booting the extras to bring the scores to 19-29.

But Harlequins turned it up a gear and Breach with a race clear down the touchline scored with the conversion added.

However, the Bears weren’t throwing in the towel just yet! Throwing everything they had at their opponents a monumental shift from Manon Johnes sent her over the line for the bonus point and a play-off place secured.

Harlequins finished the game with the final say with Cokayne crossing the line for the hat trick to put the final score at 26-43.

Bristol Bears Women: 15.Β Kayleigh Powell, 14. Courtney Keight, 13. Phoebe Murray, 12. Amber Reed (cc), 11. Jasmine Joyce, 10. Lucie Skuse, 9. Keira Bevan; 1. Simi Pam, 2. Hannah West, 3. Sarah Bern, 4. Delaney Burns, 5. Abbie Ward (cc), 6. Alisha Butchers, 7. Alice Lockwood, 8. Rownita Marston.

System players: 16. Holly Phillips, 17. China Kill, 18. Ellie Mulhearn, 19. Talia John, 20. Manon Johnes, 21. Lucy Burgess, 22. Elinor Snowsill, 23. Ella Lovibond

Tries - Sarah Bern, Delaney Burns, Jasmine Joyce, Manon Johnes

Conversions - Amber Reed (3)

Harlequins Women: Tries - Ellie Kildunne, Amy Cokayne (3), Heather Cowell, Shaunaugh Brown, Jess Breach. Conversions – Ellie Green.


Dave Ward reaction


Pick of the Match: Amber Reed


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