A performance dripping with heart and desire earned Warriors Women a magnificent 15-12 victory at Bristol Bears Women in the Allianz Premier 15s.
A penalty from Sarah Nicholas five minutes from time sealed the points for Jo Yapp’s side, who were strong in every department despite missing a series of internationals through injury.
Sioned Harries stepped up to the mark with two tries, one in each half as the Wales international underlined her star quality in the back-row.
Harries put Warriors in front just short of the half hour mark when she crashed over from close range after excellent mauling from the likes of Cara Brincat and former Bear Amelia Buckland Hurry.
It was just reward for Warriors, who had gone close to registering the first score on 16 minutes through Vicky Laflin, however the wing’s weaving run was halted as she was bundled into touch just short of the try line.
Bristol to their credit hit back immediately, prop Ellie Mulhearn burrowing over on the back of a well-executed driving lineout. Elinor Snowsill converted to give Bears the advantage at 7-5 going into the break.
The second half began in frustrating fashion with Warriors penalised on successive occasions, allowing Bristol the opportunity to build some pressure. The Bristol pack began to flex their muscles and got themselves to within a whisker of the try line, before the ball was switched wide to former Warrior Jasmine Joyce who scooted in to extend her side’s lead to 12-5.
The Sixways outfit were not deterred by the early second half set-back and had an attacking threat in the shape of Abi Kershaw, who like a fine wine, keeps getting better and better with ball in hand.
On 56 minutes Alex Callender was yellow carded, but despite being down to 14 players, Warriors rallied and Harries bulldozed her way to the line with the final ten minutes of the contest looming. The impressive Nicholas converted to level the score at 12-12 to set up a tense finale.
At 12-apiece Warriors kept their nerve and speaking of nerves, Nicholas had nerves of steel when she stepped up to slot home what proved to be the match-winning penalty five minutes from time.
Game management, a topic that Warriors have had to address in recent weeks, came to the fore in the closing minutes and they saw out the remainder of the contest to record a famous win and spark scenes of jubilation.
Warriors Women | 15 Abi Kershaw, 14 Paige Farries, 13 Jade Shekells, 12 Meg Varley, 11 Vicky Laflin, 10 Sarah Nicholas (CC), 9 Brooke Bradley, 1 Caryl Thomas, 2 Carmen Tremelling, 3 Flo Long, 4 Cara Brincat, 5 Amelia Buckland Hurry, 6 Jo Brown, 7 Alex Callender, 8 Sioned Harries (CC)
Replacements | 16 Hannah Stephens, 17 Roz Jermine, 18 Elizabeth Shermer, 19 Philippa Rawbone, 20 Taz Bricknell, 21 Caity Mattinson, 22 Robyn Wilkins, 23 Zoe Heeley
29m | Harries try 0-5
31m | Mulhearn try 5-5
31m | Snowsill con 7-5
49m | Joyce try 12-5
59m | Harries try 12-10
60m | Nicholas con 12-12
65m | Nicholas pen 12-15