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Report: Bristol Bears Women 34-5 Worcester Valkyries

Bristol Bears Women secured a third successive Tyrrell’s Premier 15s victory with a 34-5 bonus point win over Worcester Valkyries at Shaftesbury Park.


What Happened? 

The hosts opened the scoring in the West Country through captain Clara Nielson, who found herself at the tail of a surging maul which gave the hooker a simple finish as she dropped to the floor over the chalk and handed her side the lead. 

Buoyed by their confident start, the Bears soon crossed for a second. Kim Oliver’s side were tenacious in defence throughout the afternoon and their high pressure allowed for Becky Hughes to intercept a Valkyries pass and slide over the whitewash with Lucy Attwood converting.

No less than two minutes later the Bears had their third after the home side went through the gears deep in the Worcester half and caught the visitors off-guard with Lucy Burgess finishing well under pressure in the corner.

Worcester responded and managed to get themselves over the line midway through the first half as Megan Goddard floated pass found Lauren Leatherhead, who ducked through the attempted tackles from the Bears to dot down for the visitors. 

It would be Bristol Bears Women who would have the last say in the last say in the half and they did so in with the last passage of play before the interval.

Foxwell’s miscued clearance fell into the arms of Burgess, who seized the opportunity and turned on the after-burners to race away from the oncoming defenders and score. Lucy Attwood duly converted and Burgess' second  sealed the try bonus point before half-time for the home side. 

Sarah Bern was in fine form on her return to action (via JMPUK).

Worcester came out fighting in the second half and enjoyed longer spells of possession, however, they were met by a dogged Bristol defence who came hurtling forward time after time to shut down the space and give their opponents next to no time on the ball.

The driving maul was weapon that the Bears utilised well throughout the afternoon and Nielson was again the beneficiary as Lucy Attwood kicked for the corner and the hosts powered their way over the line. 

Poppy Leitch led her side's defensive line superbly throughout the eighty minutes, constantly hunting the Valkyries' ball carriers and stepping up to make big hits behind the gain-line. 

Esme Bird capped a dominant performance for the Bears as the hosts set up yet another driving line-out five metres out from which the back-rower peeled off and dived over the whitewash to seal a 34-5 victory in front of a boisterous home crowd. 


Teams:

Bristol Bears Women: 15. Merryn Doidge, 14. Brooke Clarke, 13. Lucy Attwood, 12. Lucie Skuse, 11. Lucy Burgess, 10. Becky Hughes, 9. Caity Mattinson; 1. Naomi Keddie, 2. Clara Nielson (C), 3. Sarah Bern, 4. Amelia Buckland-Hurry, 5. Hollie Cunningham, 6. Esme Bird, 7. Poppy Leitch, 8. Gabby Senft. 

Impact Players: 16. Florence Long, 17. Charlie Budge, 18. Kate Newton, 19. Daisie Mayes, 20. Rhi Parker, 21. Kyara Martin.

Worcester Valkyries: 15. Carys Cox, 14. Cara Clarke, 13. Meg Varley, 12. Vicky Foxwell, Angharad De Smey, 10. Megan Giddard, 9. Brooke Bradley; 1. Lauren Leatherhead, 2. Lark Davies, 3. Laura Keates, 4. Bec Clough, 5. Sarah Bill, 6. Cara Brincat, 7, Charlie Willcock, 8. Lisa Campbell. 

Replacements: 16. Carman Tremelling, 17. Milly O’Donnell, 18. Stacey Maguire, 19. Laura Thomas, 20. Millie Williams, 21. Chloe May Barton 22. Vicky Laflin. 


Key Moment: 

With half-time approaching and Worcester having pulled a try back the next score would be vital for either team.

The Bears’ defensive pressure forced Vicky Foxwell to kick to the open-side, she miscued her clearance and it fell invitingly to Lucy Burgess, who made the most of the opportunity and showed great speed and strength to score her second and secure the bonus point. 

Class. 


Player of the Match:

Becky Hughes pulled the strings from the fly-half position for the Bears, she dictated her side’s attacking tempo well and providing a means to get the ball wide and expose the Valkyries defence. 

Hughes also bagged a try of her own on Saturday afternoon, expertly picking off a floated pass from the Valkyries to run in unchallenged and slide over the whitewash. 

Superb.


Photo of the match:

Bristol Bears Women celebrate Hughes' score (via JMPUK).