Warriors Women endured a frustrating afternoon at Sandy Park as Exeter Chiefs Women got the better of them with a 19-7 victory in Round 4 of the Allianz Premier 15s.
Quick off the line in defence coupled with solid execution at the set-piece, the Devon outfit were good value for the win, while Warriors will be keen to bounce back in positive fashion when they welcome Loughborough Lightning to Sixways next weekend.
Vicky Foxwell put Warriors ahead on 16 minutes, the attack-minded centre intercepting on halfway before sprinting clear to cross under the posts. It was just the tonic for Warriors, who were tested by a steely Exeter outfit from the first whistle and beyond.
Foxwell converted her own score to increase Warriors’ lead to 7-0, however the visitors were unable to deal with the restart safely as Exeter immediately snaffled the ball back and laid themselves an attacking platform. Edging closer to Warriors’ try line, the ball was flung wide to Chiefs wing Lottie Holland who came onto the ball at pace to touchdown.
Warriors’ afternoon did not get any better on 34 minutes as Lydia Thompson was forced off the pitch after a hefty collision with her opposite wing. Vicky Laflin replaced the England flyer, itching to add to her try-scoring haul for the season.
Looking like it may be evenly poised going into the break, Exeter had other ideas, and on the stroke of half-time Emily Tuttosi added the final touches to a driving maul to put the home side in the ascendancy at the interval. Gabby Cantorna fell short with the touchline conversion, but Exeter had the advantage at 12-7.
Chiefs came out for the second period all guns-blazing and notched up their third try of the contest within minutes of the restart. This time Laura Delgado crashed over from close range after a flurry of strong carries got Chiefs to within a whisker of Warriors’ try line. Cantorna added the extras to extend Chiefs’ lead to 19-7, with Warriors having it all to do for the remainder of the game.
Warriors continued to be frustrated, unable to get into their attacking rhythm as Chiefs foiled anything that was thrown at them. Alex Matthews, fresh from her Grand Slam-winning success with England, saved Warriors on a couple of occasions with some last-ditch tackling as Chiefs went in search of a try bonus-point.
With time not on Warriors side, the visitors were starved of possession going into the final stages and the consolation of a losing bonus-point was wearing thin. Chiefs’ game management came to the fore and the ball was booted into touch as Warriors Women now turn their attention to next Saturday’s fixture at home to Loughborough.
Warriors Women | 15 Abi Kershaw, 14 Lydia Thompson, 13 Vicky Foxwell, 12 Jade Shekells, 11 Paige Farries, 10 Robyn Wilkins, 9 Caity Mattinson, 1 Flo Long, 2 Carys Phillips, 3 Laura Keates (c), 4 Alex Matthews, 5 Amelia Buckland Hurry, 6 Taz Bricknell, 7 Alex Callender, 8 Sioned Harries
Replacements | 16 El Febrey, 17 Carmen Tremelling, 18 Elizabeth Shermer, 19 Philippa Rawbone, 20 Cara Brincat, 21 Megan Varley, 22 Vicky Laflin, 23 Lowri Williams
16m | Foxwell try 0-5
17m | Foxwell con 0-7
19m | Holland try 5-7
43m | Cantorna con 7-7
35m | Tutossi try 12-7
36m | Delgado try 17-7
37m | Cantorna con try 19-7