Portsmouth Valkyries aiming to end Reading Abbey's unbeaten run - leaders Havant are back in action

Portsmouth Valkyries resume their league campaign this weekend with a visit to unbeaten table-toppers Reading Abbey.

Friday, 3rd January 2020, 10:43 am
Updated Friday, 3rd January 2020, 10:45 am
Rosie Staples. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (130119-52)

The Valkyries ran the leaders close at Rugby Camp in October - losing 22-32 - and they will be up for the challenge on Sunday.

Reflecting on the season so far, head coach Mark Witcher is upbeat.

‘At the halfway stage I’m extremely happy with our league position, having won four of our eight games,’ he said.

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‘To be fourth in the league after being newly promoted is fantastic for us.’

He added: ‘Facing league leaders Reading for our first game back after the Christmas break is obviously a daunting prospect.

‘There will never be a good time to play them, but hopefully they will have over indulged more than us during the festivities.

‘We only lost by 10 points against them in the previous encounter and we know what we have to work on.’

Valkyries welcome back skipper Alice Kightley, Abbi Reid and Cheryl Goodwin who has returned from deployment.

‘There have been several standout players in the first half of the season,’ said Witcher

‘Flanker Rosie Staples has been impressive, having stepped into the second row as cover for the injured Sandy Newsham.

‘Sophy Roseaman has once again led the charge from number eight, creating and scoring tries.

‘Of the newcomers, Lou Langton and Abi Harding have made a real impact and their class is evident for all to see.

‘At the start of the season, we set out to consolidate our place in this division and there is no reason why we can’t push for a top-half finish.

‘My big hope for the remainder of the season is to have a good cup run and remain competitive within the league.

‘Most importantly, we must push the development team harder with more competitive games to prepare them for entering a league next season.’

n Havant Ladies are also back in action on Sunday at London Irish.

The squad have trained over the festive period in a bid to maintain the momentum they finished with in 2019.

Havant top the table, with London Irish sitting just four points behind.

Irish lost 23-19 at Havant last October, but both clubs have shown great development since that game.

Havant Ladies are continuing their recruitment drive with an 'inner-Warrior' session on Wednesday, January 22 (7pm).

They will welcome any new or existing players wanting to take up the sport again.