WORCESTER Valkyries lost 39-5 at the Northern Echo Arena despite a promising first-half display against Darlington Mowden Park Sharks in the Tyrrells Premier 15s.

Valkyries fell 10-5 behind at the halfway stage after a Nikita Frere debut try but missed several opportunities to gain the advantage.

They were punished in the second period as Darlington ran away with the contest with five tries.

Elle Bloor got the game’s opening score after powerful carrying but Valkyries hit back when debutant Hannah Bluck’s strong run allowed Frere to show her footwork and pace to score.

But the hosts regained the upper hand after Claudia Macdonald went over.

Sharks came out of the blocks quicker in the second half, helped by some enforced disruption to the Valkyries backline, and claimed two quick scores through Rachael Woosey and Bloor.

Again Valkyries found rhythm and maintained field position but a combination of inexperience and poor decision-making meant they were unable to make any real impact on the Darlington line.

As the game wore on, the hosts notched a couple of breakaway scores to put some gloss on the scoreline as Katy Mclean, Mackenzie Thomas and former Warriors community coach Tamara Taylor touched down.

Valkyries director of rugby Roy Davies said: “The final scoreline is disappointing when we were competitive in the game for so long.

"We just weren’t able to be clinical enough when it mattered and injuries and unavailability are testing our squad depth.

“But there were some excellent individual performances, particularly Charlie Wilcock and Vicky Laflin, while debutants Hannah Bluck and Nikita Frere showed some real promise.

“We had a pretty emotional dressing room afterwards which confirms we have a group of players who really care and want to get things right and we are all working hard to do that.”