Warriors Women claimed a memorable 29-21 bonus-point victory over Bristol Bears Women at Sixways in the Allianz Premier 15s.
Jo Yapp’s side ran in five tries, with hooker Carmen Tremelling scoring a hat-trick in a contest which illustrated how women’s rugby is going from strength-to-strength in front of the live television cameras.
The hosts played some scintillating rugby and set their stall out as early as the seventh minute when Tremelling registered the first of her scores from the base of a driving lineout. Tremelling, who began her rugby adventure at Doncaster RFU aged seven, added the finishing touches to a dominant forward onslaught to give Warriors the advantage at 5-0.
Three minutes later, Jade Shekells crossed for a Try of the Season contender as Paige Farries and Carys Cox combined neatly to unleash the centre to the line. Shekells’ centre partnership blossomed throughout the afternoon – Meg Varley impressing with a series of rock star carries into Bristol’s 22.
10-0 up inside the opening 12 minutes, Bristol exerted a period of sustained pressure and an Alex Matthews covering tackle saved a certain try as Bears looked to puncture holes in Warriors’ defence. Matthews was part of an impressive forward display, with Caryl Thomas an integral part of Warriors’ front-row to set the platform for the backline to attack.
The Sixways outfit weathered the storm and were rewarded by forcing Bristol into handling errors thanks to a robust defensive display, spearheaded by England back-row Matthews.
Canada wing Farries notched up try number three for Warriors, coasting in at the corner after Caity Mattinson made full use of an overlap with a looping pass. Cox was the catalyst for the score, her blistering pace unhinging Bristol’s backline as she raced clear to get within a whisker of the try line.
Warriors secured the bonus-point on the stroke of half-time courtesy of Tremelling, who peeled off the back of a driving lineout to bundle over to give her side a 20-0 interval lead after Sarah Nicholas’ conversion.
Tom Lindsay’s Bristol side came out for the second period in positive fashion and were helped by having the extra player for 10 minutes when Farries was yellow carded for an off the ball tackle. Bears immediately made Warriors pay for their ill-discipline when Alice Lockwood scooted in for a try, which Elinor Snowsill duly converted.
The visitors doubled their try-scoring tally moments later thanks to Lauren Smyth, who dummied at the breakdown before scooting 30-metres to cross under the posts. Snowsill added the extras to close the gap to 22-14.
The next score would be crucial, and Warriors ensured they were the ones celebrating on 56 minutes when Tremelling grabbed her hat-trick as the pack continued to underline their supremacy with good go-forward.
England international Lydia Thompson was replaced on the hour mark, the World Rugby Team of the Decade inductee getting some valuable game time under her belt, before heading into the Red Roses camp.
Bristol made it a tense final 10 minutes for Warriors, Simi Pam rampaging her way through to touch down for a converted try. 29-21 in front, Warriors illustrated some solid game-management as they looked to keep the ball in hand through Alex Callender and Sioned Harries.
Warriors’ composure came to the fore and Matthews’ ball and all tackle into touch on Bristol hooker Clara Nielson sparked scenes of jubilation as the hosts celebrated a well-earned 29-21 triumph.
Warriors Women | 15 Carys Cox, 14 Lydia Thompson, 13 Jade Shekells, 12 Meg Varley, 11 Paige Farries, 10 Sarah Nicholas (CC), 9 Caity Mattinson, 1 Caryl Thomas, 2 Carmen Tremelling, 3 Flo Long, 4 Elizabeth Shermer, 5 Amelia Buckland Hurry, 6 Alex Callender, 7 Alex Matthews, 8 Sioned Harries (CC)
Replacements | 16 Abby Smitheman, 17 Abi Castle, 18 Kelsi Butler, 19 Sara Moreira, 20 Charlotte Wright Haley, 21 Brooke Bradley, 22 Vicky Laflin, 23 Lowri Williams
5m | Tremelling try 5-0
10m | Shekells try 10-0
26m | Farries try 15-0
35m | Tremelling try 20-0
35m | Nicholas con 22-0
44m | Lockwood try 22-5
45m | Snowsill con 22-7
47m | Smyth try 22-12
48m | Snowsill con 22-14
55m | Tremelling try 27-14
56m | Nicholas con 29-14
63m | Pam try 29-19
64m | Snowsill con 29-21