Portsmouth unveil women’s second team

Portsmouth Valkyries have now been joined by Portsmouth Amazons at Rugby Camp

Portsmouth celebrated a landmark occasion at the Rugby Camp on Sunday.

The club fielded a ladies’ second string for the first time.

And the newly-formed Portsmouth Amazons capped the occasion with a maiden victory.

The first team – Portsmouth Valkyries – were not able to complete a memorable double, though.

They were held to a 44-44 draw by Crowthorne in a Women’s National Championship south east west division one encounter.

The Norway Road outfit have built a squad in excess of 45 players on the back of promotion success last season and the direction of the coaching staff.

That has prompted them to form the Amazons, who welcomed a Winchester side for a friendly ahead of the Valkyries fixture.

And that got off to the perfect start with a 19-5 success.

The tries came from Marie Hallam, Charmian Hayes and Zoe Stride – the latter crossing the whitewash in her first game of rugby.

Next up were the Valkyries and they looked on course for a fourth straight win – only to surrender a commanding lead in a thrilling 16-try encounter with Crowthorne.

The home side led 29-10 at half-time, having notched five tries in the opening period.

Scrum-half Charlotte Morgan recorded the best of the bunch.

After the break, the Berkshire visitors pulled a try back.

But this was quickly countered by Valkyries number eight Sophie Roseaman, with her second try of the game.

And the Portsmouth outfit stretched their lead to 39-15 with Georgie Outhwaite the latest to get her name on the scoresheet.

But Crowthorne came roaring back, with wing Jessica Irvine taking her tally to five tries for the match.

The Valkyries still had the edge, though.

And when Outhwaite added their eighth score from an interception – making it 44-27, the hosts looked nailed on to celebrate victory.

But they were unable to cope with Irvine’s speedy runs from deep and Crowthorne levelled late on.

Coach Bali Salisbury said: ‘It has been a steep learning curve for us this season but Sunday was a lesson was learned.’

The Valkyries, who sit third in the table, travel to sixth-placed Witney on Sunday.

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