- Richmond secure vital win over league leaders Worcester
- DMP edge out Thurrock as they battle for Premiership survival
Worcester 10 Richmond 19
Richmond significantly closed the gap on Premiership leaders Worcester on Sunday with an important 10-19 victory on the road.
Defending champions Richmond knew they had to secure a win on Worcester’s turf to keep alive their hopes of retaining the title and they did just that in a thrilling match.
Leading just 12-7 at half-time the Londoners pulled away after the break to secure their tenth win of the season, which now puts them level pegging at the top of the table with Worcester. With just two rounds remaining of Premiership action both sides cannot afford any slip-ups.
England powerhouse forward Alexandra Matthews opened Richmond’s account with an early try that saw her score under the posts early on. Jackie Shiels added the conversion to hand the visitors an early 7-0 lead.
England scrum half Fiona Davidson then added a second try for Richmond but the conversion was missed this time and Worcester used the opportunity to get back into the game thanks to a Pippa Crews converted try just before the break.
Worcester reduced Richmond’s lead to 12-10 soon after the restart with Darel Poole adding a penalty but Richmond were anything but rattled and soon powered ahead. England hooker Emma Croker touched down for an important try and with Abigail Chamberlain converting, Richmond took the victory.
Bristol 59 Wasps 12
Bristol’s ambitions to finish third in the Premiership this season remain on track after a big win against Wasps at the weekend.
The West Country side ran in a massive nine tries including a hat-trick for England’s Marlie Packer and Amy Wilson Hardy.
England prop Kate Newton opened the rout for Bristol, benefitting from a good scrum and then powering over. Bristol continued to retain possession and Packer impressed with some fantastic breaks. From the back of a scrum, the England flanker ran half the length of the pitch, kicked downfield, secured her own ball and then popped it out to Amber Reed, who touched down in the corner.
Within minutes Packer was rewarded with a try of her own after some good teamwork. Sally Tuson came close to scoring but Packer added the points. Reed added the conversion.
It didn’t go all Bristol’s way in the first half though with Wasps hitting back just before the break. Camped on Bristol’s line for some time, the Londoners' persistent efforts resulted in a try for Jess Bain. England’s La Toya Mason added the conversion.
Wilson Hardy handed Bristol a healthy three-try lead after the restart with the first of her three tries before Packer then added her second.
Despite Bristol looking strong, and dominating the set piece, Wasps kept themselves in the game. Their determination paid off with another try from a five-metre scrum after continued battering of the Bristol defensive line. This time Charlie Veale took the points.
Into the last ten minutes of the game, Bristol impressively put another four tries on the board with Wilson Hardy (2), Packer and Reed all scoring.
Bristol Head Coach Susie Appleby said: “There were some outstanding individual performances, which came together in a really good team performance. Going into the last two league games and heading for a big finish, third place in the Premiership is still within our grasp.”
Thurrock 22 Darlington Mowden Park Sharks 24
The battle at the bottom of the Premiership table saw Darlington Mowden Park Sharks edge an important 24-22 victory against Thurrock on Sunday. Thurrock now have to win their next two games to keep alive any hopes of Premiership survival.
In a fascinating and nail-biting match, Thurrock pushed the Sharks to the wire. Just ten minutes in after a scrum on the halfway line, England fly half Katy McLean spotted a gap and set DMP’s backs into motion. A good tackle on the line set up the ruck and within seconds DMP’s flanker Ruth Nash was over the line. McLean then added her own converted try minutes later.
Despite going 12-0 down Thurrock were inspired by their dominant pack and they mounted a comeback. Setting up camp on the DMP line Thurrock pressed for a score. Repeatedly taking the scrum option as DMP infringed, they went for the pushover. Third time lucky and as the ball bobbled loose at No 8 Sarah Austin’s feet, a quick scoop from scrum half Georgia Cook put the ball in India Harvey’s hands for a score under the posts. The conversion from Emily Scott put Thurrock right back in the game.
With the half drawing to a close and with their tails up, Thurrock threw everything at DMP. Scrummaging well DMP were pushed back over their own line and Austin made no mistake in cleanly touching the ball down. Scott couldn’t make the conversion this time leaving the score 12-12 at half-time.
After the restart Nash added her second for DMP after a Thurrock missed tackle but the home side again bounced back with Ugandan Sevens captain, Helen Buteme, running in for her first Premiership try in just her second game, making the score 17-17.
DMP once again stepped up the pace and pushed deep into Thurrock territory despite stiff defence and in the end, lock Abbie Scott touched down. McLean added the conversion making it 24-17 with 15 minutes left on the clock.
Thurrock then played some of their best rugby of the season in the last phases of the game. Deep in DMP’s 22, they had a series of driving mauls and scrums. Being held up over the line and dropping two scoring passes meant Thurrock were denied vital points until finally Bex Francis went over. The conversion, however, went wide, leaving Thurrock agonisingly short at 22-24 at the final whistle.