‘That’s been 20 years in the making’ – a ‘proud’ day for Portsmouth Valkyries as they field two teams in women’s league games on same day for first time

Portsmouth Valkyries RFC celebrated a ‘historic’ and ‘proud’ moment as they fielded two women’s teams in league fixtures on the same day for the first time ever.

Friday, 1st October 2021, 1:07 pm
Portsmouth Valkyries 2nds v Havant Sirens (red/white). Picture: Keith Woodland

The 1st XV hammered Newton Abbot 44-5 at Rugby Camp in their opening game of the RFU Championship SW 2 - the third tier of women’ rugby.

Scrum-half Sammy Groves and Bronwyn Jacobs both scored a hat-trick of tries in what was the first Valkyries league game since before the first national lockdown in March 2020.

In addition, Valkyries 2nds - in their first ever league game - defeated Havant Sirens in front of a sizeable crowd.

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Groves scored her tries before an arm injury forced her off early in the second half, while three times Jacobs ran from her own half to touch down.

The first half was all Portsmouth with impressive forwards Sophy Roseaman and Jordan Wilshire linking up well, carrying the ball and making huge gains in terms of yardage. Wilshire found herself with the ball deep in her own half and launched a huge kick into the Newton Abbot 22; following up her own kick, the ball was turned over and Wilshire ran in under the posts.

Portsmouth went into the break 32-0 up, having scored six tries.

The Devonians started the second half on top and went over the line with a well worked try on the right.

Valkyries hit back five minutes later through Jacobs and skipper Natasha Davison crashed over right on full time. Two conversions from Carrie Whymark completed the scoring.

In the 2nds’ debut NC3SW game, a brace of tries from winger Dani Burgess helped the hosts to a 22-10 derby win against Havant.

‘We are really proud of that achievement,’ said Valkyries 1st XV coach Mark Witcher with regard to the club fielding two competitive teams on the first day.

‘That’s been 20 years in the making.

‘We’ve got over 60 players signed on and we had 38 available over the two teams which was fantastic.’

Valkyries 1sts have a big home game this month against Trojans at Rugby Camp on October 17 - a fixture which sees the two highest-ranked women’s teams in Hampshire go head to head for league points.