- Worcester and Richmond battle for title in final round this weekend
- Thurrock set to play Aylesford Bulls in Premiership play-off match
Photo: RFU Archive
The title race for the Women’s Premiership will go right down to the wire on Sunday, April 28 after both contenders – Worcester and Richmond – picked up big wins at the weekend.
Worcester now edge defending champions Richmond with a points difference of 79 making this weekend’s games, where Worcester take on Wasps and Richmond play Bristol, huge matches.
Worcester 43 Saracens 10
Bouncing back from two recent consecutive defeats, Worcester ensured the Premiership title race will go right down to the final whistle when they picked up a bonus point win against Saracens on Sunday.
Worcester didn’t have it all their own way though and Saracens took the first points of the afternoon with a try from wing Amy Myers after just four minutes.
Worcester, however, were quick to respond with England fly half Ceri Large matching Myers’ score. England U20s captain Megan Goddard then added the extras.
The game appeared to be quite evenly balanced with Saracens turning over ball with some ease, and the physicality of Hannah Gallagher and Heather Stammers at the breakdown was impressive.
Worcester weathered the storm though and centre Sarah Guest increased the home side’s lead following a nice break after 25 minutes before Jenny Brightmore also touched down.
Worcester continued to dominate with Large adding her second try before half time, making the score 25-5.
The one-way traffic for Worcester continued after the break with England’s Kat Merchant scoring twice in just ten minutes with Goddard converting on both occasions.
Despite the bonus point now being secured, Worcester didn’t lose any momentum with Riannon Watkins picking up a loose ball from five metres out to stroll over unopposed for a soft try.
Saracens finally hit back with a Jess Ryan try but their efforts were too little too late with Worcester taking the impressive 43-10 victory.
Thurrock 3 Richmond 65
An 11-try bonus point victory underlined Richmond’s ambitions to defend their Premiership crown this season but for Thurrock the defeat condemned them to the Premiership play-offs next weekend.
Firmly rooted to the bottom of the league table without a win this season, the Essex side must now take on Aylesford Bulls after the Bulls’ North versus South Championship play-off victory at the weekend.
It was not a good day for Thurrock, who could only add a penalty while Richmond ran riot. Richmond’s Rebecca Ball topped the try tally table for the afternoon with four touchdowns whilst Sophie Nicolas also added a hat-trick. There were also tries for Jackie Shiels, Holly Myers and Laura Jenkins. England scrum half Fiona Davidson added five conversions.
Bristol 8 Lichfield 25
The battle to secure third place in the Premiership table continued at the weekend with Lichfield this time taking the upper hand.
Bristol started the game well, with lots of possession but they were unable to convert that pressure into points and that cost them dear.
Instead, some good passages of possession and a fantastic line break from Lichfield fly half Emily Scarratt saw prop Justine Lucas drive over the line to score. Scarratt couldn’t make the conversion but she soon added a penalty to make the score 8-0 after 20 minutes.
Photo: RFU Archive
Bristol hit back with some impressive breaks from England flanker Marlie Packer but in the end they had to settle for a kickable penalty converted by Amber Reed. Patience paid off for the home side, who benefited from Lichfield’s Nancy Stone’s sin-binning with prop Sasha Acheson driving over the line to score Bristol’s first try.
But that was where Bristol’s run ended with Lichfield taking charge after the break. With some textbook tactical kicking from Scarratt, Lichfield applied the pressure and in the end Bristol caved, conceding a penalty which Scarratt converted.
With Bristol then losing Packer to the sin-bin, Lichfield made the most of the one-man advantage and Scarratt broke through the defensive line to score under the posts. Scarratt made no mistake with the conversion.
Lichfield then added their final try of the afternoon thanks to Katie Crowley offloading to the ever present Scarratt, who darted 22 metres downfield to score her second try. The 23-year-old once again converted to secure the win.
Darlington Mowden Park Sharks 14 Wasps 30
Wasps picked up their fifth win of the season at the weekend following a comprehensive 30-14 victory away from home.
The win moves Wasps ahead of Saracens in the league table as they look set for a mid-table finish this season.
Tries came courtesy of Laura Quinn, who scored a brace of tries, Jess Bain, Liz Riley and Hannah Fields.