By Tom Branston
Worcester Valkyries fell to a 27-6 defeat in their Women’s Premiership opener against Aylesford Bulls Ladies at Sixways on Sunday.
Three second-half tries were enough to seal victory for Aylesford after a tightly contested first-half.
Early territory and possession showed great promise for the Valkyries when captain Lisa Campbell showed her class running at great linespeed to break the Aylesford defence on several occasions.
However, frustration began to build for Worcester as a dominant thrive of possession down in the Aylesford 22 couldn’t be converted into points.
Megan Goddard did eventually get the Valkyries off the mark with a penalty towards the halfway point in the first-half.
But Aylesford soon responded when Fiona Pocock dashed 30 metres down the pitch to score the opening try of the game and Jessica Wooden added the extra points with a successful conversion.
Rachel Lund made life difficult for the Bulls defence with darting runs and solid hand-offs.
Ceri Large also proved to be influential for the Valkyries in the first-half with a fantastic overall performance.
Goddard added her second penalty of the game as Valkyries went in just one point behind at the break.
Early pressure in the second period didn’t pay off for the Valkyries as Aylesford put their stamp on the game, scoring two tries within three minutes to stretch the score.
First up Davinia Monteiro crashed over the tryline after a driving maul couldn’t be stopped from an Aylesford lineout.
The Bulls had the Valkyries pinned back in their own half for the majority of the second-half and capitalised on their dominance with a fourth try as Ellisha Dee went over.
Then, a freak bounce of the ball after the Bulls kicked clear went over the head of Alexia Mavroudis and Pocock was on hand to go in under the posts untouched for her second score.
Valkyries surged for a consolation try in the latter stages but couldn’t find a way through a resilient Bulls defence.
Next up Valkyries travel to last year’s league champions Richmond Ladies on Sunday 18 September (kick-off 2pm).
20m| Goddard pen 3-0
27m| Pocock try 3-5
27m| Wooden con 3-7
33m | Goddard pen 6-7
41m | Monteiro try 6-12
57m | Dee try 6-17
60m | Pocock try 6-22
61m | Wooden con 6-24
66m | Wooden pen 6-27
Valkyries | 15 Rhi Parker, 14 Rachel Lund (Bixley), 13 Zoe Bennion, 12 Ceri Large, 11 Alexia Mavroudis, 10 Megan Goddard, 9 Bianca Blackburn, 1 Rochelle Clark, 2 Helena Bunce (Hiscox), 3 Tracy Balmer, 4 Amy Wigley, 5 Courtney Gill (Haigh), 6 Lyndsay O’Donnell, 7 Sian Williams, 8 Lisa Campbell (C)
Replacements | 16 Steph Clarke, 17 Lizzie Binks, 18 Rosie Haigh, 19 Stacey Hiscox, 20 Rhiannon Donnahey, 21 Sam Parker, 22 Jaz Bixley