Sale Sharks come up just short in a tight affair against Bristol Bears Women at Shaftesbury Park.
On what was a bitterly cold afternoon in the West Country, the young Sale Sharks Women took it to Bristol Bears Women and had it not been for a tough ten-minute period prior to HT, the result may have gone Sale’s way.
The opening exchanges set the tone for the rest of the game, end to end and lot’s of physicality. After a bright start from the Sharks, it was Bristol who got on the board first with a penalty infront of the sticks which the impressive Elinor Snowsill knocked over with ease. This only fired the Sharks up further and they came straight back after a break out wide by Lisa Neumann. Sharks were rewarded with a penalty in Bristol’s 22 and after a quick tap from Katy Daley-Mclean, she threw a pass wide to Lauren Delany who side stepped the covering tackled and dotted down in the corner. The conversion was missed.
That seemed to poke the Bear and they came back with two tries in the space of minutes. A couple of silly errors by Sale and some strong work at the breakdown from the Bristol back row provided the opportunity for their first score. The elusive Burgess sniped from the back of a maul in Sale’s 22 and went untouched to go under the sticks and give Bristol a 10-5 lead.
Bristol came straight back at the Sharks from the restart and it wasn’t long before Bristol’s fullback, Kayleigh Powell was under the sticks too. Powell picked up the ball on halfway and with an arching run, found a gap in the Sharks defence to break the line, she then ran through Vicky Irwin’s last gasp attempt to make the tackle, who dislocated her shoulder in the process and Bristol went into the break 17-5 up.
After the break, Sale came flying out of the blocks putting the pressure back on to Bristol. Unfortunately for Sale despite what they threw Bristol’s way, their defence stood firm and twice held try scoring efforts up over the line.
The game continued to be played with huge amounts of physicality and at a frantic pace. It wasn’t long before one of the team’s would get over the line and unfortunately for Sale, it went the way of Bristol and in emphatic fashion. Bristol’s Looshead prop did things Looseheads shouldn’t be able to do and went 60 metres untouched to give Bristol a 22-5 lead.
Sale came back as they had done throughout the game and Vicky E Irwin (yes, there’s two of them) crashed over from short range to provide some hope of salvaging something from the game! Sale continued to attack well and it looked like Delany would cross again in the corner but a slightly stray pass was fumbled and with that, any hope of a Sale comeback was dashed.
Sale Sharks Women take on Darlington Mowden Park next Saturday at Darlington, where they will be looking to pick up their 2nd win of the season.
Bristol Bears Women:
15. Kayleigh Powell, 14. Lily Stoeger-Goddard, 13. Phoebe Murray, 12. Lucie Skuse, 11. Jasmine Joyce, 10. Elinor Snowsill, 9. Lucy Burgess; 1. Simi Pam, 2. Clara Nielson ©, 3. Ellie Mulhearn, 4. Hollie Cunningham, 5. Marlo Boyd, 6. Jenny Herring, 7. Manon Johnes, 8. Alisha Butchers
Impact Players: 16. Abbie Parsons, 17. Holly Phillps, 18. Stef Evans, 19. Alice Lockwood, 20. Rownita Marston, 21. Rhi Parker, 22. Kyara Martin, 23. Georgia Newman
Sale Sharks Women:
15. Vicky Irwin, 14. Lauren Delaney, 13. Alicia Carlton, 12. Laura Perrin, 11. Lisa Neuman, 10. Katy Daley-McLean, 9. Mhairi Grieve; 1. Aisha Abu Marzouq, 2. Scarlett Fielding, 3. Kate Houghton, 4. Teleri Wyn Davies, 5. Daisy Hibbert Jones, 6. Georgie Perris-Redding, 7. Jessica Elbeck, 8. Beth Stafford.
Replacements: 16. Molly Kelly, 17. Freya Hellin, 18. Brea Leung, 19. Vicky Irwin, 20. Hannah Field, 21. Lucy Winter, 22. Alexandra Wallace, 23. Jess Wooden