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Report: Bristol Bears Women 5-12 Loughborough Lightning

Bristol Bears Women fought back to claim a losing bonus-point against Loughborough Lightning in atrocious conditions at Shaftesbury Park. 

Tries from Lark Davies and Emma Hardy gave the visitors an early two-score lead, but the Bears held firm and clawed their way back into the game to score in the final minute through Kyara Martin.

What happened?

The West Country weather turned as kick-off approached and set the tone for an attritional affair at Shaftesbury Park on Saturday afternoon.

Lightning shot out of the blocks, and with the wind at the backs they looked to apply arial pressure early on. After winning a penalty in the Bears half, they kicked to the corner and set-up a driving maul which could not be stopped and Davies crashed over the chalk.

The visitors doubled their lead in a matter of minutes. Menin made a huge break in the midfield and hurtled towards the Bears’ line, she was brought down by Smith and the ball was recycled wide for Hardy to cross in the corner. 

As the first half wore on the conditions began to deteriorate, and it became tough for both sides to keep hold of the ball and build meaningful attacks. 

Loughborough continued to assert their dominance in the first period and had multiple chances to extend their lead, however, time after time the Bears pack stood firm and disrupted the line-out to turnover the ball. 

The visitors kept hold of their lead to go in twelve points to the good at the half.

Following the break the Bears came out fighting as they looked to get themselves back in the tie and get a result. 

The hosts brought wave after wave of attack to try and close the gap, but they were thwarted by a stubborn Lightning defence combined with loose handling. 

Bristol got themselves within metres of the line and looked certain to claw their way back into the game with twenty minutes to go, however with the line at their mercy they knocked on in contact and Loughborough cleared through Brown. 

As the game approached the closing stages, Lightning almost killed the game off as Brown broke for the line, however she was hauled down just short by a phenomenal cover tackle from Jones and Stoeger-Goddard. 

The try-saver would prove pivotal in the Bears salvaging a losing bonus-point from the game. 

With time almost up the Amber Reed opened up her bag of tricks to a put in a pinpoint cross-field kick, which was scooped up by Kyara Martin, who then stepped the final defender and finished from 40 metres out. 

Martin was making her return to first team action following 18-months out injured and her score meant the Bears took a point from the game. 


Teams:

Bristol Bears Women: 15. Jo Smith, 14. Lily Stoeger-Goddard, 13. Phoebe Murray, 12. Amber Reed (CC), 11. Kyara Martin, 10. Lucie Skuse, 9. Rhi Parker; 1. Simi Pam, 2. Clara Nielson (CC), 3. Sarah Bern, 4. Marlo Boyd, 5. Hollie Cunningham, 6. Megan Barwick, 7. Daisie Mayes, 8. Rownita Marston

Impact Players: 16. Alice Lockwood, 17. Stef Evans, 18. Ellie Mulhearn, 19. Delany Burns, 20. Serena Settembri, 21. Chelsea Jones, 22. Georgia Newman, 23. Amy Coles

Loughborough Lighting: 15. Abbie Brown, 14. Line Staunton, 13. Ellen Ramsbottom, 12. Emma Hardy, 11. Olivia Jones, 10. Helena Rowland, 9. Ella Wyrwas; 1. Detysha Harper, 2. Lark Davies, 3. Daleaka Menin, 4. Kat Hobson, 5. Anya Richmond, 6. Georgia Bradley, 7. Amelia Harper, 8. Sarah Hunter

Replacements: 16. Byrony Field, 17. Katie Trevarthen, 18. Beyonce Fowler, 19. Becky Noon, 20. Isla Alejandro, 21. Jess Weaver, 22. Grace White, 23. Rachel; Woosey


Key Moment: Kyara Martin

The Bears managed to dig deep when it mattered most and produce a moment of magic to take something from the game.

Reed’s delicate chip over the Lightning backline was expertly gathered by Martin, who managed to evade the last defender and bolt for the corner in dramatic fashion. 

Poetry in motion. 


Player of the match: Amber Reed

The Bears' skipper carried on her fine form from the season opener and put in a brilliant all-round display. 

Her leadership quality were evident throughout the game to keep her side motivated and put them in the positions needed to get something from the game.

Whether it be carries, tackles, turnovers or kick assists, Reed did it all and demonstrated why she is a world class operator at 12. 

Captain fantastic.


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