Exeter Saracens 10 Sidmouth Valkyries 5
Sidmouth Valkyries travelled to Exeter Saracens this Sunday for a return of their first ever fixture. The teams’ expectations were high, individually, and collectively, they were keen to show how much they have improved since their last meeting.
Immediately from kick-off the Valkyries got stuck into the game, with some strong carries from our lock pairing of Julie Mitchel and Gemma Rose, both players linked well and got our phase play going, giving our backs a great platform to play off.
Gabby Cantorna the backs coach was really impressed with how quickly the backline moved the ball. Our centres, Sammi Layzell and Caitlin Perry were strong and consistent throughout, making it easy for our wingers Amber Harris and Kellie Welch to shine.
The game was very evenly matched; however, the Valkyries had most of the possession and field position. It took a moment of individual brilliance from Kellie Welch to get the first score, in textbook fashion, off the back of a scrum, the ball was shipped out wide where, Kellie showed, power, pace and a real eye for the try line as she raced half the length of the field to open the scooring.
Sarries, showed their fighting spirit next as they looked to get back in the game but were thwarted many times by the ferocious tackling of Vicky Borasten, Amy Nairne-Clarke, and Gina Marden. However, in the first visit to Sidmouth’s 22, Sarries levelled the score, against the run of play.
Frustrated and eager to get their first win, the women kept their heads up and put together some of the best rugby they have ever played. There were some wonderful runs from Claire Housden and Emily Shayler, who had Sarries back-peddling every time they got the ball. Sadly, our captain, Sas Huntwood who was having an incredible game as she does, every time we play came off injured. Without Sas’s influence the opposition, capitalised, and scored a break away try and the last 10 minutes, which was the difference between the two teams in the end.
Further stand out performances from Jasmin Larcombe, Leila Stone, and Lucy Girichu were notable but coach, Kate Zackary, voted for Gina Mardon as the teams forward of the day, Kellie Welch, as back of the day and Vicky Borasten as Player of the Day.
Overall, the team should be immensely proud of themselves, the passion and commitment every one of them shows on and off the field is incredible. They really are a special group of women, with a very bright future as team ahead – keep training hard, learning and getting fitter and the first Win will come.
Thanks to our traveling fans, for their support as always.