By Thomas Branston
Worcester Valkyries have qualified for the Women’s Senior Cup plate semi-finals despite slipping to a 34-14 defeat against Aylesford Bulls Ladies at Sixways on Sunday.
Aylesford produced a dominant first-half scoring four tries courtesy of Holly Myers and a hat-trick from Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird.
Valkyries’ Heather Cowell scored a sensational try from her own 22 in a promising start to the second period but tries from Jess Wooden and Hannah Field secured a place in the Cup semi-finals for Aylesford.
Cowell added her second try at the death and despite the loss, Donna Kennedy’s Worcester side will take on Thurrock Ladies on Sunday 12 March at Sixways as they look to book a place in the plate final.
Aylesford made their intentions clear from their first attack of the game by forcing Worcester back into their own 22.
And it didn’t take long for them to open the scoring as Bhaird bundled her way over after a well-constructed driving maul.
The Bulls hit Valkyries with both barrels as Myers went over after Wooden created a hole in the defence to set up the winger.
Wooden converted and Aylesford had their third after Bhaird found space to cleverly scuttle her way through.
Worcester grew into the game and thought they had their first score when Sam Bree dived over but it was disallowed as her foot was deemed to have been in touch.
Mistakes took their toll on the home side as Aylesford added their fourth try just before half-time as prop Bhaird claimed her hat-trick, crashing over from close range.
Aylesford led 22-0 at the break but Worcester responded in the second period with a stunning try from Cowell, who received the ball deep in Valkyries’ 22 and ran the length of the field to score with Goddard adding the extras.
However, Wooden extended Aylesford’s lead after the restart with a try and Field then crossed for the visitors’ sixth after the Bulls put together 15 phases.
Wooden knocked over the conversion before Valkyries scored a consolation try late on with Cowell racing over for her second and Ceri Large added the conversion with the last action of the game.
With two wins from four Senior Cup games, Valkyries have progressed to the Plate semi-final to face Thurrock before they travel to Aylesford on Sunday 26 March for their final Women’s Premiership match of the season.
Valkyries | 15 Alexia Mavroudis (Bixley 63), 14 Heather Cowell, 13 Zoe Bennion, 12 Megan Goddard, 11 Sam Bree, 10 Ceri Large; 9 Bianca Blackburn, 8 Lisa Campbell (c), 7 Sian Williams (Donnahey 67), 6 Rosie Haigh (Smith 67), 5 Courtney Gill, 4 Stacey Hiscox, 3 Lizzie Binks, 2 Lark Davies, 1 Kelly Phasey (Wilson 34)
Replacements | 16 Gemma Wilson, 17 Steph Smith, 18 Sarah Davey, 19 Rhi Donnahey, 20 Rhi Parker, 21 Sam Parker, 22 Jaz Bixley
02m | Bhaird try 0-5
05m | Myers try 0-10
06m | Wooden con 0-12
11m | Bhaird try 0-17
38m | Bhaird try 0-22
51m | Cowell try 5-22
52m | Goddard con 7-22
54m | Wooden try 7-27
62m | Field try 7-32
63m | Wooden con 7-34
80m | Cowell try 12-34
80m | Large con 14-34