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Report: Loughborough Lightning 17-14 Bristol Bears Women

Bristol Bears Women fell to defeat at the hands of Loughborough Lightning on Saturday afternoon, narrowly missing out on the win in a valiant effort at the University Stadium.

What happened?

After a strong start to the match, Jasmine Joyce marked her return to the Bears line-up with a blistering run from her own 22 for the opening points of the game. Amber Reed slotting the conversion to put the Bears 7-0 ahead in the opening five minutes.

The Bears kept hold of the momentum to set up the attack in Lightning’s half once again and slick hands from Alisha Butchers found Joyce out wide to sidestep her way in for her second try of the game. Reed with the boot to extend the Bears lead 14-0.

After piling on the pressure in the opening quarter, Lightning turned the tables on the half hour mark to take control. A yellow card for the Bears’ Phoebe Murray for a deliberate knock-on gave the hosts the advantage but a steal from Butchers kept them away from the scoreboard.

Moments later, the Bears were dealt another blow with a yellow card for Sarah Bern. Utilising the pack, Lark Davies drove over the line for Lightning’s opening try. No conversion left the scores 5-14 to the Bears going in at the break.

Coming out for the second half, Murray returned from the sin bin but the Bears were still down to 14. But despite being down a player, a stubborn defence from the Bears kept Lightning at bay.

But penalties mounting against the Bears soon saw Lightning strike again. Setting up another driving maul off the back of a lineout saw Davies crash over for the second try of the game to put the hosts into double figures.

Punishing Bristol’s defence, a maul in the visiting 22 and yellow card for hooker Hollie Phillips left the referee running under the sticks to award Loughborough the penalty try to take the lead.

Bristol dug in deep in the closing ten minutes to try and finish 2021 with a win. Ploughing their way through the phases in Lightning’s 22 and edging closer to the line, the Bears attack came agonisingly close to powering over for the try. But a spirited defensive effort from the home side saw them turn over the ball and clear for the full-time whistle and victory.


TEAMS:

Loughborough Lightning: 15. Fran Goldthorp, 14. Megan Gaffney, 13. Helena Rowland, 12. Emma Hardy, 11. Georgie Lingham, 10. Helen Nelson, 9. Jess Weaver, 1. Leah Bartlett, 2.Lark Davies, 3. Christine Belisle, 4. Emma Wassell, 5.Lilli Ives Campion, 6. Rachel Malcom ©, 7.Sadia Kabeya, 8.Sarah Hunter

Replacements: 16. Gillian Bourke, 17. Katie Trevarthen, 18. Charli Jacoby, 19. Cath O’Donnell, 20. Maja Muller, 21. Jenny Maxwell, 22.Georgina Tasker, 23.Isla Alejandro

Bristol Bears Women: 15. Kayleigh Powell; 14. Jasmine Joyce, 13. Phoebe Murray, 12. Amber Reed (co-capt), 11. Courtney Keight; 10. Elinor Snowsill, 9. Keira Bevan; 1. China Kill, 2. Hannah West, 3. Sarah Bern, 4. Hollie Cunningham, 5. Abbie Ward (co-capt), 6. Alisha Butchers, 7. Manon Johnes, 8. Siwan Lillicrap.

System players: 16. Robyn Lock, 17. Hollie Phillips, 18. Ellie Mulhearn, 19. Delaney Burns, 20. Rownita Marston, 21. Lucy Burgess, 22. Grace Crompton, 23. Ella Lovibond

Loughborough Lightning: Tries: Lark Davies (2) Penalty try.

Bristol Bears Women: Tries: Jasmine Joyce (2), Conversions: Amber Reed (2)


Pick of the match: Jasmine Joyce


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