- Worcester and Richmond still unbeaten
- The Premiership reaches its half-way mark
Photo Credit: Rugbymatters.net
Darlington Mowden Park Sharks 11 - Worcester 31
A convincing 31-11 victory on the road for Worcester maintained the Midlanders’ status at the top of the Premiership as the league season reached its half-way point at the weekend.
Worcester were, however, put on the back-foot for the start of the match with an early touch down for Jennifer Edwards. It was only a stoppage of play because of injury in the second quarter - that put Darlington off their stride - which opened the door for Worcester to come back in and score through Sam Bree.
That score though gave Worcester a boost and soon they put their second try on the board through England wing Katherine Merchant just before half-time.
After the restart Merchant grabbed her second after a lucky bounce of the ball saw England fly-half Ceri Large make a good break and provide Merchant with room to run in.
England captain Katy McLean kept the scoreboard ticking over for DMP with a penalty, but a good break by full-back Danielle Waterman put Worcester, still unbeaten this season, into a comfortable 24-8 lead after 65 minutes.
Mowden, nevertheless, refused to give up and McLean slotted home another penalty, but some missed tackles and basic errors handed Worcester another opportunity and Jenny Brightmore ran in to score. With Darel Poole converting Worcester took their eighth win of the season.
Wasps 8 – 50 Richmond
Defending Premiership champions Richmond are well and truly keeping the pressure on top of the table Worcester with another victory, this time over London rivals Wasps.
In what was a close match for 60 minutes, Richmond finished the game in style to put a high score on the board.
Wasps started well, in control, and some strong running from Yellie Powley at 12 and good work by the Wasps back row allowed the outside backs to find space and within five minutes Sarah McKenna kicked over a penalty for the first points of the match.
Soon after, a loose pass by Richmond just inside their own half saw Michaela Staniford grab the intercept and run in for a try, putting Wasps 8-0 in the lead.
Richmond, however, looked dangerous out-wide with Alice Richardson making breaks and creating space for Lynne Cantwell playing on the wing. Wasps dealt with the pace of Richmond and covered their attacking lines, in particular with a try saving tackle by Tina Lee a few metres out from the try line.
For a period of 15 minutes Richmond were within the 22 but Wasps kept strong and aggressive in defence to hold the opposition out. After a number of penalties Wasps lost a player to the sin bin and Richardson then slotted home a penalty before a pick and go by Rowena Burnfield saw her touch down for a converted try, making the score 8-10 to Richmond at the break.
An early second-half breakaway try for Fiona Davidson, which was again converted, gave Richmond a more comfortable lead but it wasn’t until the last quarter of the game when Richmond pulled out all the stops to take the lead. Davidson added her second score after picking up from the ruck and darting down the wing, before further tries came courtesy of Jackie Sheils, Davidson, Becky Essex and Nele Van Hove.
Bristol 29 Saracens 0
Bristol Ladies picked up an important bonus point win on Sunday to keep them at the right end of the league table.
Bristol, now sitting fourth in the table, ran in tries from Kate Hancock, Rachel Taylor, Marlie Packer, Claire Molloy and Amy Wilson-Hardy. England’s Amber Reed also added two conversions.
The West Country side’s win was all the more impressive given they lost three players to the sin-bin during the game, with Claire Molloy, Izzy Noel-Smith and Amber Reed all shown the yellow card.
Saracens, however, had no response and sorely missed the likes of Mandy Marchack who is now back in training with the Canadian squad.
Lichfield 50 Thurrock 0
Lichfield’s title hopes are still alive following a comprehensive 50-0 victory over Premiership newcomers Thurrock.
In total the Midlanders ran in eight tries, courtesy of England trio Sarah Hunter, Rosemarie Crowley and Natasha Hunt and Saskia Kobus Brazier, Rose Jay (2), Nancy Stone and Chelsey Fuggle. England’s Emily Scarratt also added five conversions.