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Report: Bristol Bears Women 27-10 Loughborough Lightning

Bristol Bears recorded a stunning 27-10 victory over Loughborough Lightning in an action-packed encounter at Shaftesbury Park.


What happened?

Bristol Bears opened the scoring within five minutes as Sarah Bern crashed over from close-range following a strong carry from Clara Neilson. Elinor Snowsill added the extras, handing the home side the perfect start to proceedings.

Kim Oliver’s side continued to apply the early pressure as Phoebe Murray’s delicate grubber almost resulted in a Keira Bevan touchdown.

Bristol came close once again midway through the first period when Lauren Smyth engineered space down the outside channel and forced Lightning to scramble the ball to safety.

After Naomi Keddie was held up over the whitewash by the stubborn visiting defence, Bristol were handed another gilt-edged opportunity with a five metre scrum but Rownita Marsh was forced into touch.

With ten minutes remaining in the first half, Elinor Snowsill extended the advantage to 10-0 with a well-struck penalty goal.

Against the run of play, Emily Scarratt latched onto a kick behind the Bears defence to reduce the deficit and put Loughborough within three points.

But it was the home side who ended the half on a high, as Keira Bevan’s fine break put Sarah Bern in from twenty-five metres for a stunning counter attack try, her second of the game.

Sarah Bern celebrates after her opening try at Shaftesbury Park (JMPUK).

Bristol started the second half in similar fashion as Rownita Marston crashed her way through midfield, before Lucy Attwood also carved an opening in a dominant ten-minute spell.

A strong defensive display, led by several crunching tackles from Lucy Burgess, kept Lightning at bay, but Emily Scarratt’s long-distance penalty goal on the hour mark kept Loughborough in touch at 15-10.

In an attritional second half contest, Ellie Mulhearn came within inches of burrowing over during a brief foray for Bears into the visitors’ territory. With Bristol’s tails up and ten minutes remaining on the clock, Lauren Smyth finished off a flowing backline move to dab down for Bristol’s third try of the afternoon.

Leading 20-10, Rownita Marsh stopped the ever-threatening Scarratt in her tracks to thwart a visitor’s attack, Elinor Snowsill crossed in the final stages to secure the bonus point and a momentous victory at Shaftesbury Park.


The teams:

Bristol Bears Women: 15. Lauren Smyth, 14. Lilly Stoeger-Goddard, 13. Lucy Attwood, 12. Phoebe Murray, 11. Lucy Burgess, 10. Elinor Snowsill, 9. Keira Bevan; 1. Naomi Keddie, 2. Clara Nielson (CC), 3. Sarah Bern, 4. Hollie Cunningham, 5. Siwan Lillicrap, 6. Ebony Jefferies, 7. Poppy Leitch, 8. Row Marston

Impact Players: 16. Charlie Budge, 17. Ellie Mulhearn, 18. Jess Thomas, 19. Daisie Mayes, 20. Lucie Skuse, 21. Becky Hughes, 22. Amy Coles

Loughborough Lightning: 15. Olivia Jones; 14. Carys Williams, 13. Emily Scarratt, 12. Natasha Jones, 11. Isla Alejandro; 10. Katy Mclean, 9. Megan Davey; 1. Katie Trevarthen, 2. Lark Davies, 3. Daleaka Menin, 4. Kath Hobson, 5. Georgia Bradley, 6. Becky Noon, 7. Amelia Harper, 8. Jo Brown.

Replacements: 16. Emily Tuttosi, 17. Detysha Harper, 18. Iona Antwis, 19. Bryony Field, 20. Jess Weaver, 21. Emma Hardy, 22. Rachael Woosey.


Key moment:

A late rally for Lightning in the first half gave the visitors hope, but Sarah Bern's breakaway try in the final stages of the opening forty minutes gave Bristol breathing space and proved the catalyst for the first win of the Tyrrells Premier 15s season.

The England prop collected Keira Bevan's offload to power her way over from twenty-five metres, leaving four defenders in her wake on her way to the whitewash.

Sarah Bern touches down for her second of the afternoon (JMPUK).

Player of the match: Keira Bevan

The Welsh international - in only her second game for the club - continues to impress with her leadership and awareness.

Bevan created both of Bern's tries through her quick-thinking and smart running lines, while her last-ditch cover tackle of Loughborough's Amelia Harper in the second half ensured the Bears maintained their narrow advantage. A sublime performance from the diminutive scrum half.


Oliver reaction


Photo of the match

Elinor Snowsill converts a long-range penalty goal (JMPUK).

Social media reaction


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