No contest as Portsmouth Valkyries march on with second victory

Chloe Stopard-Baker. Picture: Ian Hargreaves
Chloe Stopard-Baker. Picture: Ian Hargreaves
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Portsmouth Valkyries made it two wins from two matches in the RFU Women’s National Championship south east west division one with an emphatic 50-0 victory against Rosslyn Park, writes Simon Newsham.

Skipper Alice Kightley was unavailable so the dependable Pauline French was given the captaincy after her outstanding performance against London Welsh in the previous victory.

The hosts had the majority of the possession as expected and went ahead on seven minutes through speedy right-wing Dani Burgess.

The score increased to 12-0 after 20 minutes when number eight Sophie Roseaman drove over under the posts in typical fashion and Chloe Stopard-Baker added the extras.

Portsmouth continued to dominate a frustrating match for both spectators and players due to the visitors’ lack of specialist forwards meaning the scrum was uncontested.

Rosslyn Park ran at their hosts whenever they got the ball but were unable to severely test the defence, never looking like scoring.

Valkyries third try came when Park went down to 14 players through injury.

Portsmouth forwards stole the ball and scrum-half Rachel Kidner set her backs free, allowing full-back Laura Ineson to glide under the posts from a pass by fly-half Cheryl Goodwin.

The Valkyries scored twice more before the break, wingers Laura Blagden and Burgess adding a try each, both converted by the impressive kicking of Stopard-Baker to put the hosts into a commanding 33-0 lead at half time.

In the second half the Valkyries slowed down for 15 minutes until Burgess completed an excellent hat-trick with another powerful break from deep.

The visitors were clearly feeling the pressure and lost another player through injury.

Stopard-Baker added to her 10-point conversion tally with a nicely worked try on the hour. Just minutes later Portsmouth got to the half century when second row Sandra Newsham burst into the Rosslyn Park 22 and drove over the line.  

With Portsmouth looking unassailable at 50-0 the referee called time early as the visitors picked up another injury.

The win puts Valkyries into second place by a point behind Guernsey.

Coach Mark Witcher said: ‘It’s early days, it was frustrating that we didn’t have a real contest but the win was important.’

In their opening match of the season the Valkyries had beaten London Welsh Women 24-5.

Portsmouth led by hooker Alice Kightly had all the early pressure and possession.

Welsh defended superbly well and took the lead going over for a try in the corner.

Eventually flanker Keeta Rowlands got away to score her first try for the Valkyries and Stopard-Baker added the extras for a 7-5 lead at the break.

For the opening score of the second half the Portsmouth forwards produced a sublime piece of interplay.

Rosie Staples popped the ball to Sandy Newsham who drew all the defenders which created a huge gap for Laura Blagden to run into and draw the penalty for a high tackle which Stopard-Baker slotted neatly between the posts for a 10-5 lead.

Centre Georgie Outhwaite added the next try after good work from fly-half Suzanne Holbrook.

To complete the try-scoring with only 10 minutes left to play, right-wing Dani Burgess scooted into midfield taking the ball over her shoulder to run in under the posts and score.

Stopard-Baker added her third conversion along with an earlier penalty to make it 24-5.