Richmond Women have suffered their fifth loss of the Tyrrells Premier 15s season, conceding a hard-fought 26-18 defeat to Bristol Bears Women at Shaftesbury Park.

In difficult conditions, Richmond delivered a much improved performance following last week’s loss to DMP Sharks, but ultimately fell just short of their second victory of the season.

With rain and wind lashing Shaftesbury Park, fullback Jessica Wooden booted Richmond to an early 6-0 lead with two successful penalty kicks, before the home side hit back strongly with Rownita Marston crossing for Bristol’s first five-pointer of the afternoon. The try was converted and the Bears took a 7-6 lead after 23 minutes.

Six minutes later and the home side extended their lead with Bears captain Clara Nielson securing their second try of the afternoon.

Down 12-6, Richmond were determined to not let the match slip away and fought back powerfully with wing Emelie Hellgren barging her way over the line to reduce the deficit to just one point after 34 minutes.

But Bristol had the last laugh of the first half with prop Naomi Keddie touching down to give the Bears the 19-11 advantage after 40 minutes.

The second half didn’t start well for Richmond, with Bristol racing out of the blocks to score their fourth try after just three minutes of play. Flanker Daisie Mayes crossing to secure the bonus point score and extend their lead to 26-11.

With a determination to stay in the contest, Richmond worked their way back into the fixture and were rewarded in the 59th minute with flanker Grace Moore on the end of a powerful driving maul to score from the lineout.

However, with the weather getting worse and down 26-18 with time ticking away, Richmond missed a penalty kick in the 78th minute to secure any chance of leaving Bristol with a point.

Richmond will now look to refocus during the international break before welcoming Loughborough Lightning to the Athletic Ground on Saturday 30th November (KO 5pm).