Portsmouth Valkyries will not be taking a step back as they go to Cullompton Ladies

Portsmouth Valkyries take on Reading Abbey at Norway Road, Hilsea. Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (061019-7)
Portsmouth Valkyries take on Reading Abbey at Norway Road, Hilsea. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (061019-7)
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Portsmouth Valkyries are set for another epic contest on Sunday in Women’s Championship south west division two as they go to Cullompton Ladies.

After a tough 32-22 defeat to league-leaders Reading Abbey at Norway Road last week this encounter is likely to be just as demanding, writes Kevin Ricketts.

Head coach Mark Witcher is upbeat, reflecting upon the season so far

He said: ‘The girls should be very proud of their performance against an Abbey side that have just come down from Championship division one. 

‘There were only a couple of tries in it. 

‘Abbey had two very strong running players at full-back and centre and they made the difference. 

‘But we came away with a bonus point and are the first side to score four tries against them this season.

‘That shows we will be competitive in this league.

‘Stand-out displays from Charlie Morgan at scrum-half, flanker Abi Harding and hooker Louise Langton were highlights for me. 

‘Cullompton is going to be yet another hard game, having finished second last season.

‘We expect them to play quite a similar game to us and it will be another stern test.’

Full-back Laura Ineson and second-row Sandy Newsham are both out injured and flanker Abi Harding is also missing. 

This means the Valkyries are forced into a few positional changes within the squad.

‘Though we have to re-organise it but this doesn’t mean we are taking a step back at all,’ said Witcher.

‘There have been several new signings impressing at training and in the development game last week and they may get their chance of a call up.’

 The Valkyries are currently fifth in the league and looking to consolidate their position.

They are also in the second round of the RFU Intermediate Cup and have an intriguing away tie at Havant in a fortnight.