Portsmouth Valkyries continue title charge after putting Guernsey to the sword

Portsmouth Valkyries remain on course for a second successive promotion with a hard-fought 29-7 victory against Guernsey Ladies at Rugby Camp.

Sunday, 3rd February 2019, 4:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 8:30 pm
Sophy Roseaman helped Portsmouth Valkyriesto victory against Guernsey Ladies. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

The home side bounced back to winning ways in perfect fashion following their Intermediate Cup exit to Battersea Ironsides Ladies.

Mark Whitcher hailed the Valkyries’ response against Guernsey.

Portsmouth sit at the top of the Women’s National Competition south east west one and firmly have their sights set on the silverware.

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Senior coach Whitcher said: ‘First and foremost we want to win the league.

‘If we do that then we can prepare for the play-off against our south-west counterparts.

‘This performance was exactly what we wanted.

‘The first half was a real arm wrestle which testifies the strength of our opponents.

‘Once we put fresh legs on and stretched the game out wide they couldn't deal with it.’

In a close-fought opening home centres Bronwyn Jacobs and Chloe Stopard-Baker put in some big hits.

Defences remained on top as both teams remained pointless.

Portsmouth broke the deadlock after 23 minutes when Jacobs finished off a good move with a try to the left of the posts.

Stopard-Baker knocked over the conversion to give the hosts a 7-0 lead.

Home joy was short-lived, however, as Guernsey hit back immediately to level the scores.

The visitors scored under the posts following a move from a line-out.

With the visitors looking dangerous Portsmouth were indebted to full-back Laura Ineson.

It looked as though the Channel Island outfit would go in for a second score but Ineson pulled off a terrific tackle.

Before half-time the Valkyries were forced to reshuffle in the three-quarters.

Izzy Rawlinson was forced off injured and Stoppard-Baker moved to outside half.

Portsmouth made the perfect start to the second period, scoring straight from the kick-off.

When Guernsey knocked on the Valkyries streamed through their defence.

The ball was spun out wide quickly for Ineson to finish in the corner.

Almost immediately the hosts punished the shell-shocked Guernsey defence with another try.

Second-row forward Amy Dare combined with scrum half Morgan to put Stoppard-Baker in wide out and stretch the lead to 17-7.

Having grabbed the initiative the home side began to dominate.

Keeta Rowlands was adding a fast positive dimension to the work of the pack.

The Valkyries launched wave after wave of attacks inspired by the strong running of Sophy Roseaman and Jordan Wiltshire.

Ten minutes from the end Roseaman picked up at the back of a scrum and powered her way over.

Stopard-Baker's conversion took Portsmouth into a commanding 24-7 lead.

There was still time for the impressive Roseaman to crash over for her second try following a quickly taken penalty.

Whitcher heaped praise on the influence of Roseaman.

He added: ‘Sophy has just got that rugby mentality through and through.

‘She puts it in on the park week in, week out.

‘Opponents can't cope with her strength, pace and powerful running.’