Warriors Women were edged out by Sale Sharks Women in Round 6 of the Allianz Premier 15s, Alex Wallace’s try ten minutes before the break proving decisive at the CorpAcq Stadium.
England international Katy Daley-McLean was the catalyst throughout the contest, setting up Wallace with a sublime cross-field kick, before slotting home two penalties herself after the break.
In a game of very few try-scoring chances, both teams demonstrated their steely defensive resolve from start to finish in the Greater Manchester rain.
Elizabeth Shermer and Laura Keates both left the field of play before half-time following robust tackles to highlight the physicality on show, and it was not until the early stages of the second period that Warriors had their first clear sight of the try line when Sarah Nicholas broke down the near side.
Nicholas got Warriors on the front-foot with an excellent turn of pace, only to be halted just inches away from the whitewash and Sale managed to counter-ruck and win a penalty. After Daley-McLean had extended the hosts’ lead with a penalty, Shekells went close to unhinging Sale’s rearguard with an explosive carry into Sale’s 22. However, Sale once again stood firm under pressure to keep their 8-0 advantage intact.
Daley-McLean doubled her goal-kicking tally for the afternoon on the hour mark, this time her penalty attempt was all of 35 metres out and the 11-0 score line made it increasingly difficult for Warriors to overturn.
Jo Yapp’s side looked to play a more expansive game with the full-time whistle looming, Shekells and Sioned Harries gaining some hard yards as they eyed a late score which would have secured a losing bonus-point.
With the last play of the game the ball was moved swiftly to the near side where replacement back-row Jo Brown had some space to run into, but Sale’s sliding defence bundled her into touch as Sharks celebrated their first victory in the Allianz Premier 15s.
Warriors Women | 15 Abi Kershaw, 14 Paige Farries, 13 Vicky Foxwell, 12 Jade Shekells, 11 Vicky Laflin, 10 Sarah Nicholas, 9 Caity Mattinson, 1 Flo Long, 2 Carmen Tremelling, 3 Laura Keates (c), 4 Cara Brincat, 5 Elizabeth Shermer, 6 Alex Matthews, 7 Alex Callender, 8 Sioned Harries
Replacements | 16 Hannah Stephens, 17 Caryl Thomas, 18 Amelia Buckland Hurry, 19 Taz Bricknell, 20 Jo Brown, 21 Megan Varley, 22Hannah Bluck, 23 Zoe Heeley
26m | Wallace try 5-0
46m | Daley-McLean pen 8-0
59m | Daley McLean pen 11-0