Worcester Valkyries went down 36-7 to Loughborough Lightning at Sixways on Saturday in a rescheduled Tyrrells Premier 15s clash.
It was a game of two halves, with the first bringing some strong defence and the second some impressive attack, but unfortunately the young Valkyries side were unable to secure a result against a Lightning team pushing for the top four.
To put into context the Valkyries side which played, the average age of the squad was just 20-years-old with 17 of the matchday 21 making their Club debuts, 17 having never played top-flight rugby before this season, and 20 of them being English-qualified.
These stats show the hard work being done behind the scenes by Director of Rugby Roy Davies as he looks to grow the game in the region and build for the future.
Loughborough were on top from the first minute with some slick hands allowing winger Jenny Maxwell to glide down the outside, but some last-ditch defence from Zoe Bennion stopped Maxwell in her tracks and allowed first-time captain Charlie Wilcock to secure an early penalty.
The Valkyries defence seemed to stay strong throughout the first-half and more last-ditch tackles from Nikita Frere and Brooke Clarke allowed the hosts to rescue the ball and create some very good chances on the break. With some slick handling and tidy offloads, Valkyries were able to push further forward and put Loughborough under immense pressure.
However, it was Lightning who got the first points of the day when a strong scrum pushed Valkyries back towards their own line and Jade Bonar dived over.
The pressure began to build and Katie Trevarten went over for the visitors’ second before half-time.
But Davies’ side came out fighting in the second period and were rewarded after a series of strong carries, with Katie Phillips crashing over following a powerful scrum.
After getting back into the game and putting pressure onto the visitors, Valkyries were unable to stop three runaway tries from wingers Isla Alejandro and Maxwell and full-back Carys Williams, which put the result beyond doubt.
Valkyries didn’t lie down and searched for another score but after spending most of the second-half camped in the opposition 22, it was Loughborough who bagged another try following a charge down, and a neat offload from Carys Williams allowed substitute Beth Zeidler to score.
Valkyries travel to Saracens Women next Saturday for another tough Tyrrells Premier 15s encounter.
80m | Zeidler try 7-36
Valkyries | 15 Brooke Clarke, 14 Lia Gingell, 13 Megan Varley, 12 Zoe Bennion, 11 Nikita Frere, 10 Rebecca Scholes, 9 Emily Codd (Rendell 62), 1 Akina Gondwe (Leatherland 40), 2 Sophie Johnson, 3 Lizzie Binks (Phillips 40), 4 Liz Shermer (Barton 42), 5 Ruth Black, 6 Cara Brincat (Torgbi 71), 7 Charlie Wilcock (C) (Thomas 71), 8 Daisy French