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Report: Exeter Chiefs Women 22-24 Bristol Bears Women

Bristol Bears Women started their 20/21 Allianz Premier 15s season in dramatic fashion claiming a 22-24 victory over Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park.

Kim Oliver’s side earned themselves a bonus-point victory in their first game of the season thanks to tries from Amber Reed, Simi Pam, Sarah Bern and Jasmine Joyce. 

What happened?

The frenetic nature of this South West derby was evident to see from the opening minutes, and it was the Chiefs that struck first.

Inside the first two minutes the hosts were over the whitewash through skipper, Taylor Black. The Bears defence were caught on their heels, and quickly found themselves defending their tryline before Black powered over.

The Bears needed an immediate response and up steps the talismanic, Amber Reed. 

Elinor Snowsill’s restart was bang on the money as Reed rose highest to claim the ball, before finding a gap and pinning back her ears. Doidge tried her best to haul down Reed, but the centre’s momentum carried her to line and she stretched out to dot down. 

Having immediately hit back, Bristol were on the front foot. Their next visit to the Chiefs twenty-two would be a profitable one. Simi Pam's scything run saw her burst through the defensive line, and then truck the full-back to score under the posts. Reed converted the score. 

Both sides traded blows and penalties, but the Bears struck next and stretched their lead out to two scores. 

This time it was an attritional effort as powerhouse, Sarah Bern burrowed her way over the line from short range. Skipper, Reed added the extras to see the Bears end the half 19-5 up.

Following the restart, the visitors quickly sealed the try bonus-point score, which would ultimately turn out to be the match-winner. 

A free-flowing attacking move from the Bears allowed Jasmine Joyce space in the wide channel, and boy did she take her chance.

Her mesmeric footwork bamboozled her opposite number, and gave the opportunity to finish in the corner. She didn’t need a second invitation. 

Chiefs came back at the Bears hard, and fought their way back into the contest. The game became scrappy, and the hosts edged their way back into the game when Van der Velden ghosted through to dot down.

Two further scores from the hosts through Leatherland, and one in the final play from Vackery set up some drama in the final moments. 

The result came down to the final conversion, but with the clock in the red, Exeter couldn’t convert meaning the Bears left Sandy Park with all five points. 


Teams:

Bristol Bears Women: 15. Kayleigh Powell, 14. Lily Stoeger-Goddard, 13. Phoebe Murray, 12. Amber Reed (C), 11. Jasmine Joyce, 10. Elinor Snowsill, 9. Keira Bevan; 1. Simi Pam, 2. Abbie Parsons, 3. Sarah Bern, 4. Natalia John, 5. Hollie Cunningham, 6. Manon Johnes, 7. Alisha Butchers, 8. Rownita Marston

Impact Players: 16. Alice Lockwood, 17. Stef Evans, 18. Ellie Mulhearn, 19. Marlo Boyd, 20. Megan Barwick, 21. Rhi Parker, 22. Lucie Skuse, 23. Courtney Keight

Exeter Chiefs Women: 15. Doidge, 14. Holland, 13. Cattell, 12. Cantorna, 11. Mackinder, 10. Black, 9. Lewis; 1. Roberts, 2. Tuttosi, 3. Katoh, 4. Fleming, 5. Hunt, 6. Jefferies, 7. Vackary, 8. Van der Velden

Replacements: 16. Budge, 17. De Merchant, 18. Leatherland, 19. Leitch, 20. French, 21. Robinson, 22. Terry, 23. Burgess


Key Moment:

Having opened up a lead in the first half, it was pivotal the Bears kicked on and looked to stretch out their lead further. 

Look no further than, Jasmine Joyce. The winger picked up the ball on the twenty-two with a lot to do, but she put her foot down to deal with two on-rushing defenders before her devastating footwork allowed her to dive over in the corner. 

Her score would be the match-winner and seal the bonus-point for the Bears.

Dynamite.


Player of the Match: Manon Johnes

Tough choice in the opening game of the season with multiple players sticking their hand up for Player of the Match. 

However, Manon Johnes was superb all afternoon for Kim Oliver’s side. The back rower seemed to be everywhere at Sandy Park. 

She lead the defensive line brilliantly with speed and ferocity to shut down the space and make the tackle, while with ball in hand she was continuously finding space to dart through and bring her side up the field. 

Workhorse


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