AUSTRALIAN rugby league international Lucy Lockhart made her debut for an injury-hit Valkyries who succumbed 24-0 to third-placed Loughborough Lightning in the Tyrrells Premier 15s.
Lockhart made her debut at openside flanker in place of Charlie Wilcox, who was been ruled out with concussion.
Valkyries were able to put some positive passages of play together at Sixways but were unable to apply the finishing touch.
Lightning converted their pressure into tries from Natasha Jones, Rhona Lloyd, Leah Bartlett and Georgia Bradley.
Valkyries began the game very strongly with Roy Davies’ side showing good tempo on and off the ball creating good forward momentum. Cara Brincat broke upfield after successive tap-and-go Valkyries penalties but Loughborough were able to regroup.
After a controlled drive up the pitch, Lightning got back into the game. A couple of scrums inside the Valkyries 22 came as a result with Jones stepping by a defender and over the tryline to open the scoring.
Lightning attacks were thwarted with turnovers and forced handling errors but they added their second try before the break. Having broken into the Valkyries 22 with phase play through the middle, there was space out wide for Lloyd to dot down in the corner for a 12-0 interval lead.
It became 19-0 15 minutes into the second period when Bartlett drove over after a series of pick-and-drives and Emily Scarratt converted.
Valkyries enjoyed another period of pressure around the hour mark with Megan Goddard making an excellent break from her own half. But Lightning were able to recover and regain possession a few plays later.
The final few exchanges were tense as the visitors looked for their bonus-point try which came after Bradley bulldozed her way over from another close range scrum.
The competition now takes a break during the Women’s Six Nations and Valkyries will return to action on March 23 when they travel to Firwood Waterloo.