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.
BRISTOL BEARS WOMEN TEAM:
15. Merryn Doidge, 14. Kyara Martin, 13. Lucy Attwood, 12. Amber Reed (C), 11. Kyara Martin, 10. Elinor Snowsill, 9. Caity Mattinson; 1. Jess Thomas, 2. Mackenzie Carson, 3. Sarah Bern, 4. Amelia Buckland-Hurry, 5. Hollie Cunningham, 6. Ebony Jefferies, 7. Poppy Leitch, 8. Esme Bird
Impact Players: 16. Michaela Roberts, 17. Ellie Mulhearn, 18. Kate Newton, 19. Rownita Marston, 20. Rhi Parker, 21. Lucie Skuse, 22. Cat McNaney