Valkyries 5-15 Aylesford Bulls Ladies
VALKYRIES put in a hardworking shift but came up just short in their pre-season encounter with Aylesford Bulls on Saturday.
The hosts fielded a mixed side of youth and experience against a strong Aylesford outfit, who have brought in an influx of new coaching staff and players ahead of the 2016/17 Women’s Premiership season.
Valkyries were the better side in the early exchanges and were rewarded with a try when Megan Goddard fooled the Bulls defence with a dummy pass before offloading to Bianca Blackburn, who surged into the 22 and broke two tackles to dive over the whitewash.
But Aylesford responded quickly to level the scores through Fiona Pocock, who dived over in the corner following a five-metre scrum.
The hosts came close to a second try when Zoe Bennion surged forward after great hands from Ceri Large, but nothing came of it as the ball was lost forward in the slippery conditions.
England international Large continued to impress with the ball as she exploited gaps in the Bulls defence, but with half-time looming it was Aylesford who took the lead against the run of play. Bulls’ Chantelle Miller escaped a last-ditch tackle and burst towards the line to touch down, giving the visitors a 10-5 lead.
Changes were made in the second-half with Valkyries director of rugby Donna Kennedy bringing on young replacements Charlie Clark, Amy Wiggley and Charlie Burn.
It proved to be a frustrating afternoon for the Worcester side though, as sustained pressure couldn’t be converted into points.
Miller soon scored her second and the Bulls’ third try when a lineout in the Valkyries’ half led to a quick offload from Pocock to Miller, who crossed in the corner to seal the victory.
Valkyries kick-off the Women’s Premiership next Saturday when they host the Bulls at Sixways from 2pm.