The Gazelles travelled down the A3 to meet the newcomers to Championship 2 south west, Portsmouth Valkyries. Portsmouth have made a strong start to life in the league with a deserved 4th place as we approach the halfway point and would provide a tough test for the Gazelles as they looked to continue with a win following a bonus point win at home against Cullompton.
Guildford started strongly after turning over ball and attacking the Portsmouth line, play remained in the Portsmouth half until the Gazelles gifted Portsmouth an exit opportunity through a penalty, fortunately this was squandered and the gazelles launched another attack on the Valkyries finishing with a knock on and giving Portsmouth their first real taste of possession.
The Valkyries finally attacked the Guildford half with their scrum half providing quick ball for the Valkyries attack. A Gazelles infringement allowed their 10 to make touch from a penalty opportunity and give the Valkyries a lineout inside the 22. After the not straight throw Guildford chose to scrummage and cleared from their own half.
The tussle in midfield continued until a quick tap from scrum half Gracie New which brought Gazelles into the Portsmouth 10, further attacking work brought Guildford close to the 5m line in front of the posts. From a kickable penalty Gracie chose to attack to the right instead of taking the points, with Zoo Overton, Verity Brooker and Phili Wellman combining before being taken into touch by an attentive defence. Guildford stole the resulting lineout and Wellman launched an attack cross field to set up Becky Rayner for her first try for Guildford.
From the restart Becki Simmons and Hannah Trafford made strong carries deep into the Pompey half before a penalty provided Zan Hudson opportunity to set up a lineout close to the 5m line. Portsmouth dealt well with the resulting maul and Hudson passed wide left with an incredible pickup under pressure from fullback Katie Davies who dances her way out of trouble until the gazelles unfortunately coughed up possession, The teams tussled in the 22 before Portsmouth cleared to offer a lineout on the left just outside the 22. The resulting Gazelle’s maul drove deep into the Portsmouth 22, the Gazelles attacked right with Trafford and Simmons setting a strong platform for New to feed Spencer Hastings to dive over and bring the score to 0-10.
The second half started and almost immediately the Gazelles added to their points haul with Verity Brooker crossing on the far left to bring the Gazelles to 0-15.
An error from the Valkyries restart allowed Guildford a scrum on halfway. Good work from Jess Dale and Hannah Trafford brought Guildford up into the 22. Hudson pulled the attack left before switching back right for Jess Dale to score close to the posts, Hudson duly despatched the extras taking the score to 0-22.
Guildford spent the next 30 minutes searching for the bonus point. Changes in the pack provided an opportunity for Ruth Harper to make her return to the team. Unfortunately despite considerable possession a high penalty count allowed respite to a strong Portsmouth side and eventually the outside centre crossed out wide to take the score to 5-22. Guildford will rue many missed opportunities late in the second half as they left Norway road with a win but no bonus point.
The gazelles welcome Teddington to Broadwater next Sunday and a bonus point win should cement 2nd place at the halfway stage still in touch with leaders Reading Abbey KO will be 2pm and all supporters welcome
Hope to see you there from your correspondent
Gold Star Reporting