Worcester Valkyries came within moments of their first-ever Tyrrells Premier 15s victory at the Richmond Athletics Ground on Sunday.
Valkyries led 15-14 until the 76th minute when Richmond snatched victory through a converted try from Anna Caplice.
Valkyries gave a good account of themselves with Josie Symonds, Alex Callender and Australia lock Bec Clough scoring tries – Clough’s her first since she joined the club last month.
Richmond responded with three converted tries through Emelie Hellgren, Laura Kapo and Caplice.
After a tense opening ten minutes, the first big chance of the game fell to Richmond. But great one-on-one defending from Vicky Laflin forced Alicia McComish to knock the ball forward on the tryline.
After soaking up Richmond pressure for the opening 20 minutes, an interception from Vicky Foxwell allowed Valkyries to break.
She offloaded to Varley who streaked deep into Richmond territory before the ball was spread to Symonds who scored in the corner.
Valkyries looked to build on that lead immediately and stormed into Richmond territory with a flurry of penalties.
That momentum was killed, however, when Richmond won a penalty of their own on halfway and took it quickly. They broke and Hellgren was on hand to finish a two-on-one.
Valkyries didn’t take going behind lightly, however. Roy Davies’ side’s line speed helped impose mistakes in the Richmond backline and turnovers came as a result.
Late on in the half, from another turnover, Foxwell broke before releasing Symonds down the wing. After a few phases Callender then crossed to put Valkyries ahead at the break.
Valkyries came out swinging for the second-half and with a great restart, were able to set up in the Richmond half.
After sustained pressure, Valkyries’ next points came off the back of a set piece. A lineout was won five metres out and driven over the tryline at force with Clough grounding the ball.
Despite Valkyries having the better start to the second-half, Richmond didn’t take that score lying down.
In the final 20 minutes, they began to impose themselves on the game and force a couple of errors from Valkyries including a forward pass which led to a scrum.
From the scrum, Richmond played through the phases before Laura Kapo squeezed in and under the posts to bring the game within a point.
Richmond began to apply pressure on the Valkyries defence who stole the ball yet again. This time, the ball fell to Laflin who glided up the pitch into the Richmond 22.
An interception, however, let the hosts off the hook and they took the ball upfield.
Richmond’s pressure told when Charlie Wilcock was sent to the sin bin for foul play.
Shortly after, the hosts were able to punch their way over the tryline through Caplice after a series of phases.
In one last roll of the dice, Valkyries came within metres of a bonus-point try. Successive lineouts took them within five metres but the ball was lost at a scrum, signalling the end of the game.
Valkyries Development XV went down 57-0 to their Richmond counterparts in the Tyrrells Premier 15s Development League.
Valkyries’ next fixture sees a return to Sixways where they welcome Wasps Ladies on Sunday December 16 (kick-off 2.00pm).
Valkyries | 15 Josie Symonds, 14 Jada Bailey, 13 Meg Varley, 12 Vicky Foxwell, 11 Vicky Laflin, 10 Sian Moore, 9 Brooke Bradley (Barton 76); 1 Akina Gondwe, 2 Lark Davies (c), 3 Lauren Leatherland, 4 Bec Clough, 5 Lyndsay O’Donnell, 6 Alex Callender, 7 Charlie Wilcock, 8 Zoe Bennion (Brincat 56-76, Bill 76)
Replacements | 16 Tara Wheeldon, 17 Carmen Tremelling, 18 Sarah Bill, 19 Cara Brincat, 20 Ally Taft, 21 Choe-May Barton, 22 Jasmine Gibbons
22m | Symonds try 0-5
29m | Hellgren try 5-5
30m | Treco con 7-5
40m | Callender try 7-10
52m | Clough try 7-15
64m | Kapo try 12-15
65m | Treco con 14-15
76m | Caplice try 19-15
77m | Treco con 21-15