Valkyries Triumph by a Horse Hair

22 November 2023

20:00 @ USSG Portsmouth

Womens Development XV


Portsmouth Valkyries

The evening saw the Royal Navy Women’s Development XV under the lights face off against a formidable Portsmouth Valkyries side in Hillsea.

After a delay to the start, Navy women came out willing to experiment and build momentum which led to an almost certain try which was held up over the line. The latter stages of the first half proved to be an even contest with strong runners through the centre field from both teams.

The second half saw the Valkyries come out the stronger. Showing accuracy and discipline around the breakdown they pushed the Navy Women back into their own 22 which prompted a great defensive effort from the Navy forcing handling errors from Portsmouth and slowing their progress.

The turning point in the game which led to the only score was a loose ball at the breakdown late in the game which allowed for a well worked line break and an eventual try for the Valkyries.

With ball in hand the Navy women looked to attack the wider channels proving to be dangerous within these areas and taking positive control of the game, however unable to secure those much-needed points before the referee called time for a serious on field injury.

It was a good game that saw the RN challenge a side that was well founded. The Portsmouth Ladies clipped the Navy side who would have prefered a more open style of play although they showed strength when cornered. Both sides suffered from poor ball control. Although the match finished early the Navy showed enough tenacity to have earned some points on the board. The next challenge is converting that tenacity into tangible results.

Head Coach Sarah Jenkins said, “I am proud of the ladies. We grew as a group, playing a well-established side at their home ground. We have had a lot of new players, where we have all integrated on and off the pitch. Even though the challenge of the game was daunting, they all committed themselves and showed positive intent throughout the game…”

Women’s Dev XV: L Honeybell, R Addis; R Marley, Y Mealey; E Bythell, M Ellis*, E Thorpe, R Dilmore; R Dixon, M Douglass*, A Davies*, C Render, P Leech*, H Cole, S Hill.

Replacements: C Wright, T Morley, S Mclaughlin, K Sutherland, C Cabrera*.

*Denotes new to Navy Rugby

Words by Alex Cox and Keith Woodland

Images by Keith Woodland and Alex Cox.