Worcester run away with it after Packer is dismissed for Bristol
BRISTOL Ladies suffered their first defeat of the season, against Premiership table-toppers Worcester Ladies, at the Portway Rugby Centre.
The contest was hanging in the balance at the turnaround, with the visitors holding an 8-0 advantage.
But the home side was dealt a severe blow when England flanker Marlie Packer was sent off early in the second half for showing dissent to referee Sara Cox.
Packer was unhappy with the referee's interpretation at the breakdown and vented her frustration, only to be shown a red card in the presence of watching England Women's coach Gary Street.
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Packer, who apologised to the referee following the match, will now serve a club ban until a date for her disciplinary hearing is confirmed.
It is understood Street will also attend the hearing as a character witness in Packer's defence.
Bristol more than match their Midlands rivals in the opening exchanges, with captain Izzy Noel-Smith carrying the fight to Worcester in attack, while Claire Molloy and Kate Hancock pulled off some last-ditch tackles in defence.
But Bristol fell apart following Packer's dismissal and Worcester's numerical advantage took its toll.
Bristol head coach Suzie Appleby said: "We've had a shocking day at the office, but one bad result doesn't necessarily make you a bad team. We were beaten by the better side today, and playing with 14 players for the entire second half didn't help. We have to put this setback behind us, and turn our attention to our next game against London Wasps Ladies."
Bristol Ladies 2nds moved into top spot of Championship South West Two after a 12-0 home victory over Henley Ladies.
For the second consecutive week, hooker Isobel Rico and wing Deb Flemming crossed the whitewash for Bristol, while centre Sarah Graham added one conversion. Full-back Becky Cox was voted player of the match.
Chipping Sodbury Ladies' fixture with Swindon-based Supermarine Ladies was held up for half-an-hour and moved to another pitch after Lea Rowlands suffered a broken leg and was taken to Frenchay Hospital.
Sodbury, despite monopolising territory and possession for the majority of the contest, were held to a 0-0 draw. Prop Michelle Deverill and wing Steph Bedford had particularly good games.
Old Redcliffians Ladies battled to a 5-0 triumph over Hornettes Ladies. Fi Chapman scored the try for Reds.
St Mary's Ladies thrashed Westbury Ladies 47-0 at Northwood Park. Saints ran in nine tries, courtesy of No 8 Katie Sully (4), flanker Laura Mahoney (2), wing Billi State, fly-half Lucy Bowering and centre Ester Gasa Fonollosa.