The UK Armed Forces women have lost to Wales in the annual Remembrance rugby match, despite putting in a much more competitive performance than last year.  

Both sides lined up for a poignant rendition of the Last Post before kick-off in the game, which marked 100 years since the first women's rugby match in mainland Britain.

And it was to remain competitive for the full 80 minutes despite the forces side's 39-17 defeat, leaving the players with cause for optimism going forward.

UKAF Women vs Wales Remembrance match 2017

There's no doubt that this game, held in support of the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal, brings with it an added pressure - the significance of the occasion perhaps weighing too heavily on some shoulders.

But the forces side were determined to exorcise the demons of last year's crushing disappointment, when Wales took the game away from them in the first 20 minutes.

UKAF Women vs Wales Remembrance match 2017

Things looked promising from the start, with the visitors pushing forward early on.

A break down the wing saw Wales score first though, with Jess Kavanagh-Williams taking the ball down the left flank.

UKAF stayed resolute for a period, working hard in attack and putting in some solid defence.

UKAF Women vs Wales Remembrance match 2017

But as the half-hour approached, patient work from the Welsh forwards paid dividends as Carys Philips crashed over to give the internationals a 10-point lead.

That was followed quickly by a score from Lieucu George, who used all her strength to score from five metres out before converting her own try to make it 17-0.

The military team kept up the pressure, though, and were rewarded after speedster Jade Mullen crossed over just before half-time.

UKAF Women vs Wales Remembrance match 2017

Gemma Rowland's conversion put UKAF back in it, with the score 17-7 to the home side at the break.

Wales extended their lead two minutes into the second half though, a driving maul allowing Philips to touch down.

The skipper then went on to complete her hat-trick with another score only five minutes later.

But UKAF weren't done - and showed they also had battling forwards.

UKAF Women vs Wales Remembrance match 2017

Inspired by captain Sian Williams, they scored their second try - with Sarah Batley the prop under the pile.

Replacement Rhi Nokes made an impact off the bench for Wales, scoring their sixth try, with Kavanagh-Williams notching the seventh with another scintillating run.

But it was the unstoppable Amy Cokayne who had the last word; the speedy hooker doing what she does best as the game came to an end.

The final score, then, 39-17 to Wales  - but UKAF rightly pleased with their performance. SAC Williams said:

"[I] couldn't be more proud. I asked in the changing rooms that we battle against Wales and... the girls put their bodies on the line tonight."

Sgt Bee Dawson, said work done before the match had set the players in good stead: 

"We were so prepared. We were so ready for this game."

All in all, it was a fiercely-fought contest between the two sides and worthy of its annual fixture in the Arms Park diary.

The UKAF women, meanwhile, will hope to keep getting better and better.

With thanks to Corporal Tom Evans (RLC) for photography (Crown Copyright).

More: Impressive Win For Armed Forces Men At Remembrance Rugby Match

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