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Women's Premiership Review – Round 12

09 April 2013

  • Title race hots up with Worcester defeat
  • DMP and Thurrock now battling for Premiership survival
England and Lichfield's Emily Scarratt

Photo: Rugbymatters.net

Worcester 7 Lichfield 37

A 37-7 victory for Lichfield against league leaders Worcester on Sunday has set up a thrilling finale to the Premiership this season.

After a break in league action because of the Six Nations and the IRB World Sevens Series, Lichfield travelled to Sixways at the weekend and came away with a big win.

With just three rounds remaining, Worcester still sit top of the pile but defending champions Richmond, who defeated Saracens on Sunday, are hot on their heels with just three points separating the two sides.

Lichfield were dominant from the start of this match and following good interplay from the centre pairing of Sarah Roper and Vicky Jackson, England captain Sarah Hunter scored at the back of the resulting scrum and Emily Scarratt made the conversion.

Worcester regathered quickly and after a great run from Ceri Large the fly half scored a converted try under the posts to make the score even at 7-7.

The momentum, however, swung back in Lichfield’s favour and after some good possession and a series of quick breakdowns, England No. 8 Harriet Millar-Mills touched down. Scarratt again added the extras and then a penalty before a great try just before half-time where Scarratt ran the length of the pitch to score in the corner.

The one-way traffic continued after the restart with Scarratt’s sound tactical kicking keeping Worcester in their own half and Lichfield making the most of their attacking opportunities. And after some good phases of play and constant pressure from the Lichfield backline, Roper scored. Scarratt was as consistent as ever with the boot and added the conversion and then a penalty before a second touchdown for Millar Mills, which secured Lichfield’s bonus point victory.

Richmond 32 Saracens 12

A 32-12 victory for Richmond on Sunday has reinvigorated the reigning Premiership champions' title ambitions and they now trail league leaders Worcester by just three points.

Welcoming back several international players, Richmond were the first to apply sustained pressure and they duly converted pressure into points when England lock Becky Essex picked from the base of the scrum and muscled her way over the line to score. Jackie Shiels at fly half converted 7-0.

Essex was at the heart of the action again when Richmond’s Fiona Davidson scored the home side’s second try.

The tables then turned with Saracens benefitting from a series of pick and gos with Hilary Leith finally going through, making the score 12-5. Richmond, however, were soon back in control with Holly Myers scoring in the corner and then Elisha Dee diving over just before half-time, making the score 22-5.

Richmond were back on the attack straight from the kick off. After numerous phases in which the ball was well recycled, Vicki Cornborough broke through the defence to touch down and secure the try bonus point before Becky Ball added a fifth try.

Saracens hit back with a score for flanker Hannah Gallagher, which Lauren Cattell converted but it was too little too late for the north London side.

Darlington Mowden Park Sharks 3 Bristol 33

Five tries for Bristol, two courtesy of Amy Wilson-Hardy, secured their seventh win of the season and moved them up to fourth in the league ladder on Sunday.

Despite a good start, and some strong performances from Katy McLean and Georgina Roberts, the Sharks couldn’t make the most of home advantage and Bristol took control.

After 20 minutes, some good continuity saw Wilson-Hardy pick a great line off Kim Oliver to go through untouched to score under the sticks, before England flanker Marlie Packer touched down just before the break.

In the second half, better decision-making by Bristol saw continued pressure and when Katie Mason came off the bench she picked a great line to score on 60 minutes. Wilson-Hardy then secured her second try, and prop Sasha Acheson clinched Bristol’s fifth, and the bonus point, before the final whistle blew.

Bristol Head Coach Susie Appleby said: “I am really excited about the last three games as we push for third place in the Premiership. As a coach, it was great to see the team playing the ‘pattern’ and watch it work. Our continuity and phases of play in the second half were fantastic – this was a huge team effort.”

Thurrock 5 Wasps 12

Thurrock are still without their first win of the season but they came close to changing that on Sunday, pushing Wasps hard.

Picking up an important losing bonus point, Thurrock clearly have made inroads this season as the last time they met Wasps they were on the wrong end of a 49-5 result.

In Sunday’s match Thurrock conceded two soft scores and that was their undoing. England’s Joanne McGilchrist claimed Wasps’ first try after just four minutes followed by a try from Laura Quinn. New England cap Emily Scott scored Thurrock’s one and only try.

Next weekend Thurrock face Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, who sit just four points ahead of them in the table and the result of this one could decide who will go into the Premiership play-offs to remain in this league next season.

 

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