By Tom Branston
Worcester Valkyries overcame a stern test to claim a 34-24 victory over Firwood Waterloo in the Women’s Senior Cup at the Memorial Ground on Sunday.
Six tries were enough to see Valkyries over the line with hat-tricks for both Heather Cowell and Bianca Blackburn.
The hosts’ tries came from Michelle Davis and a Bex Wilson hat-trick accompanied with two successful conversions by Beth Stott.
Valkyries began the game strongly and scored a brilliant try in the first minute through Cowell.
The pacey winger produced an emphatic run, with the help from lock Stacey Hiscox, to score in the corner and Samantha Bree added the extras.
In the early exchanges, both sides produced big hits and some attractive attacking rugby.
Waterloo soon bounced back with a try for Davis as the centre tumbled over to finish off a neat move.
But Zoe Bennion ran a hard-hitting line before popping the ball to Blackburn on the Waterloo ten-metre line and the scrum-half made no mistake, scoring under the posts and Bree chipped over the conversion.
Waterloo managed to claw their way back into the contest with another try as Wilson went over in the corner following pressure at the set-piece and Stott made no mistake from the tee.
However, Cowell had the last say in the dying seconds of the first period when she scored her second of the game.
Bennion proved influential again when breaking the defensive line and the centre popped the ball to Cowell for an easy score in the corner.
Valkyries led 19-12 at half-time and added another try shortly after the break as Blackburn went over her second of the game.
The scrum-half capitalised on some good attacking pressure to dive over the whitewash after a collapsed driving maul.
Cowell then notched her third try as Bennion provided another assist as her great footwork allowed the winger to score.
The result began to slip away from Waterloo but they continued to fight on relentlessly.
Keisha Hendricks produced some brilliant individual runs before Wilson ran through a number of defenders to score and Stott converted.
After the restart Worcester had a sustained period of pressure in the Waterloo half, dominating possession and territory.
And they added their sixth try when Blackburn recorded her hat-trick to all but secure the win.
Waterloo had the last say as Wilson was first to claim the ball after a failed clearance kick and the rapid winger dotted down to complete proceedings.
Valkyries are back in action against Saracens Women in the Senior Cup at Allianz Park on Sunday 20 November.
01m| Cowell try 0-5
02m | Bree con 0-7
15m | Davis try 5-7
22m | Blackburn try 5-12
23m | Bree con 5-14
35m | Wilson try 10-14
36m | Stott con 12-14
40m | Cowell try 12-19
50m | Blackburn try 12-24
55m | Cowell try 12-29
60m | Wilson try 17-29
61m | Stott con 19-29
70m | Blackburn try 19-34
80m | Wilson try 24-34
Valkyries | 15 Sam Bree, 14 Heather Cowell, 13 Zoe Bennion, 12 Charlie Byrne, 11 Sammy Parker, 10 Rhi Parker, 9 Bianca Blackburn, 8 Lisa Campbell (C), 7 Lyndsay O’Donnell (Snead 55), 6 Helena Bunce (Gill 45), 5 Stacey Hiscox (Donnahey 50), 4 Roise Haigh (Wigley 55), 3 Lizzie Binks, 2 Lark Davies, 1 Harriet Dunn (Clarke 55)
Replacements | 16 Steph Clarke, 17 Courtney Gill, 18 Chelsey Snead, 19 Amy Wigley, 20 Rhi Donnahey, 21 Megan Simpson, 22 Jo Richards