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Report: Bristol Bears Women 43-5 Gloucester-Hartpury

Bristol Bears Women pick up their first win of the Tyrrell's Premier 15s season with an emphatic victory over West Country rivals Gloucester-Hartpury at Ashton Gate.

First half score from Lucy Attwood, Phoebe Murray and a penalty try gave Kim Oliver's side a nineteen point lead going into the half-time break. 

The Bears never looked back as they ran in a further four tries in the second half through Mackenzie Carson, Poppy Leitch, a second for Murray and a final score from Merryn Doidge. 


The opening exchanges of the game were very cagey with the weather making for tricky handling conditions at Ashton Gate on Saturday evening. 

Bristol were dominant in the scrum throughout the game and a powerful scrum only five metres was collapsed by Gloucester-Hartpury, giving the referee no choice but to award a penalty to the hosts midway through the first half.

Kim Oliver’s side crossed a for a further two tries in the first forty, the first from Lucy Attwood who sliced her way through the Gloucester-Hartpury defence to slide over. 

The second came from Phoebe Murray, who was the beneficiary of a well-worked overlap on the right-hand side to dot down in BS3 and give the Bears a comfortable lead at the half. 

Bristol picked up where the left off after the break as Mackenzie Carson intercepted on the half way line and turned on the after-burners to race away and score.

Elinor Snowsill in action at Ashton Gate (via JMPUK).

Worryingly, on the sixty minute mark, try-scorer Mackenzie Carson had to leave the field on a stretcher after a nasty collision in the contact area.

Gloucester-Hartpury looked to try and claw their way back into the game as Bianca Blackburn darted over from close range. However, their comeback was quickly quashed when Phoebe Murray bagged her second after getting on the end of a delicate grubber kick from the boot of Amber Reed. 

Poppy Leitch then slid over the whitewash for the hosts, after the Bears kept the ball alive deep in Cherry and White’s half and Amber Reed found the flanker with a deft offload to score. 

With just three minutes left on the clock, Cat McNaney’s footwork and handling put Merryn Doidge over in front of the South Stand to wrap up a convincing West Country derby day victory at Ashton Gate for the Bears.  


Key moment:

Mackenzie Carson's intercept try swung the game and killed off any real comeback threat from Gloucester-Hartpury.

When the teams emerged from the tunnel at half-time, it was evident that Gloucester-Hartpury had something to prove and they came out fighting. 

Carson read the play brilliantly and picked the ball off on the half way line to race away and score. 


Player of the match:

Poppy Leitch was superb this evening at Ashton Gate. 

The open-side flanker worked tirelessly throughout the eighty minutes carrying well in attack as well making big hits in the defensive line. 

She also managed to bag a try of her own on the seventy-minute mark after slick handling from the Bears. 


Teams:

Bristol Bears Women:

15. Merryn Doidge, 14. Lilly Stoeger-Goddard, 13. Lucy Attwood, 12. Amber Reed (C), 11. Phoebe Murray, 10. Elinor Snowsill, 9. Caity Mattinson; 1. Jess Thomas, 2. Clara Nielson, 3. Ellie Mulhearn, 4. Amelia Buckland-Hurry, 5. Hollie Cunningham, 6. Mackenzie Carson, 7. Poppy Leitch, 8. Esme Bird. 

Impact Players: 16. Michaella Roberts, 17. Simi Pam, 18. Ebony Jefferies, 19. Kate Newton, 20, Rhi Parker, 21. Lucie Skuse, 22. Cat McNaney.

Gloucester-Hartpury:
15. Mary-Ann Gittings; 14. Ellie Underwood, 13. Millie Wood, 12. Rebecca de Filippo, 11. Kelly Smith; 10. Ceri Large (vice-captain), 9. Bianca Blackburn; 1. Sasha Acheson, 2. Connie Powell, 3. Katie Dougan; 4. Courtney Gill, 5. Zoe Aldcroft (capt); 6. Taz Bricknell, 7. Tatyana Heard, 8. Shona Powell Hughes
Replacements: 16. Ranni Samuda, 17. Ellie Gilbert, 18. Iona Antwis, 19. Georgia Brock, 20. Sarah Nicholas, 21. Meg Goddard, 22. Shauna Bennett

Photo of the match: 

Phoebe Murray celebrates her second try (via JMPUK).