By Thomas Branston
Worcester Valkyries put in a commendable performance but were beaten 32-20 by Bristol Ladies Rugby in the Women’s Senior Cup Plate final at Wootton Bassett RFC.
Bristol dominated possession in the early exchanges and made Worcester pay with Becki Belcher opening the scoring before Jaz Bixley quickly levelled.
Bristol added three more tries before the interval to stretch their lead courtesy of another from Belcher and scores for Phoebe Murray and Brooke Bradley.
Valkyries scored three second-half tries with Helena Bunce, Rhi Donnahey and Ceri Large crossing but a Chantelle Miell brace was enough to earn Bristol the Plate.
Bristol broke down the Valkyries in the opening stages with Belcher strolling in from distance to score in the corner.
Worcester reacted well with Bianca Blackburn’s accurate pass allowing Bixley time and space to dive over for a spectacular finish in the far corner.
However Bristol made the visitors pay as Belcher again crossed the whitewash in similar fashion to her first.
Murray then received the ball out wide before producing a delicate chip over the defensive line which she managed to collect to dive over in the corner.
Bristol notched their fourth try before half-time and after dominating at the scrum, Bradley spotted a gap in the defence to score under the posts.
Bristol led 20-5 at the interval and got a fifth try early in the second period as winger Miell stepped through to score and Sarah Graham added the extras.
Worcester were playing some nice rugby and would have felt hard done by to be 27-5 behind, but they didn’t roll over.
After enjoying a large spell of possession and territory in the Bristol half, Valkyries capitalised as flanker Bunce found her way over for her first try for the Club, following a well-constructed lineout.
Miell did get her second try for Bristol from close range but it was Valkyries who dominated late in the game.
Lisa Campbell led by example, as the powerful number eight broke through which led to Donnahey scoring in the corner.
Large then added a fourth try after receiving the ball on the Bristol ten-metre line and racing downfield but it wasn’t enough to get back into the contest, as Bristol won the Plate.
With the 2016/17 season now over, Valkyries will look ahead to next season’s exciting and inaugural Super Rugby campaign.
06m | Belcher try 5-0
08m | Bixley try 5-5
16m | Belcher try 10-5
20m | Murray try 15-5
40m | Bradley try 20-5
44m | Miell try 25-5
45m | Graham con 27-5
53m | Bunce try 27-10
55m | Miell try 32-10
63m | Donnahey try 32-15
75m | Large try 32-20
Valkyries | 1 Harriet Dunn (Binks 71), 2 Lark Davies, 3 Lizzie Binks (Phillips 40), 4 Stacey Hiscox (Smith 67), 5 Courtney Gill, 6 Helena Bunce (Donnahey 61), 7 Rosie Haigh, 8 Lisa Campbell, (c) 9 Bianca Blackburn, 10 Megan Goddard, 11 Jaz Bixley (Clarke 46), 12 Rhi Parker, 13 Ceri Large, 14 Alexia Mavroudis (Taft 75), 15 Samantha Bree (S Parker 70)
Replacements | 16 Katie Phillips 17 Steph Smith, 18 Rhi Donnahey, 19 Brooke Clarke, 20 Sam Parker, 21 Ally Taft