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Report: Bristol Ladies 28-20 Gloucester-Hartpury Women

Bristol Ladies secure a try bonus point win against top of the table Gloucester-Hartpury in the first West-Country derby of the season at Ashton Gate.

The visitors opened the scoring through second-row Rachel Lund, but the Bristol Ladies soon fired back through winger Cat McNaney.

Bristol kept their foot on the gas and scored soon after through sniping scrum-half Caity Mattinson, only for Gloucester-Hartpury to draw level after being awarded a penalty try. But the hosts lead by three points at half time thanks to the boot of Amber Reed.

Winger Lottie Holland’s quick-fire second half double secured the bonus-point victory for the Bristol Ladies.

What Happened?

In front of a boisterous crowd at Ashton Gate on Saturday evening, it was the visitors who came out of the blocks the faster of the two sides scoring through centre Rachel Lund.

Bristol responded in fantastic fashion by upping the tempo of play as they began to feed off the energy of the crowd.

Their reward came soon after as Reed collected a high kick from Attwood in the Gloucester-Hartpury twenty-two and the England International showed her strength to hold off two defenders and get the ball to McNaney who beat the last defender to get over the line.

A second soon followed, this time for scrum-half Caity Mattinson. Bristol used the blind-side to good effect as they got metres out from the try-line, Mattinson picked from the base and stepped on the oncoming defender to get over the white-wash.

Gloucester-Hartpury were awarded a penalty try after a dominant scrum on the Bristol five metre, but the hosts still went into the half-time break ahead 15-12 thanks to the boot of Reed.

Gloucester-Hartpury levelled the scores soon after the break through the boot of Megan Goddard.

Lottie Holland then bagged her first of the afternoon in the left-hand corner after brilliant work by Bristol deep in the opposition half. The hosts manoeuvred the ball from right to left stretching the defence, as the ball came back across Holland found herself in space to go over.

Holland was over for her second soon after. A fantastic break from Claire Molloy – who’s work rate was phenomenal all game – saw the Ladies mere metres from the Gloucester-Hartpury line. The ball was recycled quickly and Holland was again the beneficiary in the left hand corner to over.

Reed slotted a penalty late on in the second half to all but secure the victory but there was still time for Gloucester-Hartpury to go the length of the field in the last minutes and score.

Key Moment

Claire Molloy ran a sumptuous line in the build-up to Lottie Holland’s second carving through the Gloucester-Hartpury defence. She was unlucky not to go the whole way herself but quick ball allowed Holland to get over and stretch the lead to ten points.

Player of the Match

Izzy Noel-Smith was full of energy throughout the eighty minutes at Ashton Gate, her tireless work in defence accompanied by her ability to get over the gain line in attack sees her claim the Player of the Match accolade.

Bristol Ladies:

15. Lagi Tuima: 14. Cat McNaney, 13. Phoebe Murray, 12. Amber Reed (c), 11. Lottie Holland, 10. Lucy Attwood, 9. Caity Mattinson; 1. Abbie Parsons, 2. Clara Nielson, 3. Jessie Hood, 4. Amelia Buckland-Hurry (vc), 5. Kate Newton, 6. Poppy Leitch, 7. Claire Molloy, 8. Izzy Noel-Smith.

Replacements: 16. Carys Phillips, 17. Sasha Acheson, 18. Caryl Thomas, 19. Daisie Mayes, 20. Rhi Parker, 21. El Snowsill, 22. Becky Hughes.

Gloucester-Hartpury Women:

15. Ellie Kildunne; 14. Beth Jones, 13. Rachel Lund, 12. Megan Goddard, 11. Mary-Ann Gittings; 10. Ceri Large (capt), 9. Bianca Blackburn; 1. Cerys Hale, 2. Ellie Gilbert, 3. Sarah Bern; 4. Molly Morrissey, 5. Courtney Gill (vice-captain); 6. Bethan Lewis, 7. Sian Williams, 8. Abi Burton

Replacements: 16. Georgia Bradley, 17. Kathryn Buggy, 18. Gemma Sharples, 19. Milly Wallis, 20. Taz Bricknell, 21. Hannah Jones, 22. Ffion Lewis.