Bristol Bears Women slip to an opening round defeat in the Tyrrell’s Premier 15s at the hands of a strong Wasps Ladies outfit.
Kim Oliver’s side showed great fight throughout the eighty minutes and the Bears crossed the whitewash on three occasion at Shaftesbury Park through Lucy Attwood, Poppy Leitch and Sarah Bern.
The visitors took home the bonus point win after scoring five tries with Tova Derk, Abby Dow, Liz Crake and Claire Molloy (2) all crossing for Giselle Mathers’ side.
After the sides exchanged blows in the opening stages, it was the visitors who took the lead in the thirteenth minute, attacking the blindside from the back of a scrum and Abby Dow finished well in the corner.
Bristol responded immediately and played some fantastic attacking rugby, Oliver’s side got themselves deep into the Wasps half and Lucy Attwood cut a superb line off her centre partner, Amber Reed to give the Bears their first try of a new campaign.
Wasps hit back through powerful back rower, Liz Crake who did well to finish from thirty metre out, before the visitors stretched their lead to ten points via the boot of Lizzie Goulden.
The Bears bagged a try just before the half-time break, a powerful centre field scrum gave them front-foot ball and the home side exploited an overlap on the right hand side for Poppy Leitch to cross the whitewash.
As the second half began it was the Bears that started the faster of the two sides, Sarah Bern gave Bristol the lead in the forty-sixth minute as she bulldozed her way through the Wasps defence to score on her first outing after returning to Bears.
Both sides continued to knock on the door of each other’s defence, but it was Wasps who managed to get the breakthrough as Tova Derk finished a well-worked try for Wasps that started in their own half.
Giselle Mathers’ side kicked on and killed off any chance of a Bears comeback as former Bristol player, Claire Molloy scored a double in the final fifteen minutes to secure the win.
With Bristol leading on the fifty minute mark, Wasps broke from inside their own half and winger, Tova Dark raced away from the Bristol defence to give the lead back to her side. The score gave the visitors confidence to go on and close out the game with two further tries.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH:
The level of young talent within the Bristol Bear Women’s squad in unbelievable and a prime example of that is full-back, Merryn Doidge.
Aged just seventeen, she has class in abundance and plays without fear. She keeps defences guessing when she has the ball in hand and will always makes valuable metres, as well as being a strong in the tackle area.
She is certainly one to watch this season.
Wasps got their season off to the perfect start with a five try victory on the road to the Bristol Bears.
Wasps began the game on top with a scrum inside Bristol territory providing an excellent platform for the first score. Full back Nolli Waterman held the ball up on the blindside of the scrum before feeding the ball to Abby Dow who dotted down in the corner. Bristol levelled the scores shortly afterwards as outside centre Lucy Attwood ran a deadly inside line to get Bristol on the board.
Wasps regained the lead with a try on 25 minutes. Making her debut, Claudia MacDonald continually caused problems for the Bristol defence with some excellent vision to spot gaps at the breakdown. Liz Crake ran an excellent supporting line off the scrum half to receive a pass and run the final 15m to score.
A penalty from Lizzie Goulden extended the lead to 15-5. Bristol got themselves back into the game just before the half. After several scrums inside the Wasps 22m, the ball eventually went wide to find openside Poppy Leitch on the wing.
Despite Wasps going into the break with the lead, it was Bristol who came out firing in the second half. Bristol prop Sarah Bern broke through the Wasps line before a strong finish gave the Bears the lead for the first time in the match. However, the lead didn’t last for long thanks to a wonderful 80m solo effort from Tova Derk. The winger showed her speed out wide to break into the Bristol half, before fending off the last defender to finish an outstanding run.
Not to be outdone, the Wasps forwards got in on the action shortly afterwards. Excellent set piece work inside the Bristol 22m put Wasps close, but it was Claire Molloy who burrowed over from close range, extending the lead to 17-27.
Bristol put pressure on Wasps with 10 minutes remaining but a fantastic defensive effort refused to let the Bears gain ground. A number of key interventions held Bristol out, with Hannah West and Claire Molloy leading the line and winning penalties at crucial moments.
The game was put beyond doubt with 4 minutes to go as Wasps’ clinical nature told once again. Another debutant, Amy Wilson Hardy, broke her way inside the Bristol 22m before Claire Molloy polished off the move. Picking up her second score of the day against her former team, a ferocious leg drive saw her carry several defenders over the line.
After a bruising opening encounter, Wasps will be delighted to come away with a full complement of points. Their clinical nature when going forward will put them in good stead going into the season ahead as they look to feed their electric backline, with both wingers crossing the whitewash in the opener. However, it was their defensive efforts in the second half which really helped put distance between the two sides on the scoreboard.
Wasps will look to build momentum as they welcome Loughborough Lightning to Vallis Way next Saturday in a double header on Sky Sports with Ealing Trailfinders. Loughborough picked up a 22-19 opening day victory over Richmond, so both teams will be hungry to maintain a 100% record into the third round.
|08/09/2018||2:30 pm||Premier 15s||2018-19|