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Women’s Premiership round six: Saracens beat Richmond to go top

21 October 2013

  • Saracens go top of the table
  • Bristol keep the heat on the front runners
England and Richmond's Emma Croker is tackled by Maggie Alphonsi

Photo: Rugbymatters

A convincing 23-9 victory for Saracens over Richmond put the north Londoners on top of the Premiership table on Sunday night for the first time this season.

Played in torrential rain, Richmond's first visit to Allianz Park did not go the way they wanted although they led 6-0 initially thanks to two penalties from Abi Chamberlain.

However, they paid a high price for losing a player to the sin bin with Saracens skipper Maggie Alphonsi soon  
powering over from close range. Sarah McKenna converted.

Saracens continued to disrupt at the breakdown and put pressure on the Richmond line. Soon McKenna slotted home an excellent drop goal to make the score 10-6 at half-time.

After the restart, more Saracens pressure on Richmond's line saw the visitors' scrum look decidedly out of sorts. This led to the referee awarding Saracens a penalty try, again converted by McKenna.  

McKenna continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over, converting two further penalties, and though Chamberlain clawed back three points for Richmond, Saracens had done enough to take the crucial victory.

Reigning Premiership champions Worcester bounced back from last weekend’s defeat to Saracens, scoring 22 points without reply against Wasps at Twyford Avenue.

Worcester spent the majority of the first half in Wasps' territory and converted their superiority into points with Ceri Large kicking a penalty before Lisa Campbell went over for a try.

After the break, Karen Jones powered over from a scrum and Large bagged the extras. Ten minutes later, Worcester’s constant pressure allowed Large the opportunity to burst through the Wasps defence and score under the posts. Large then converted her own try to make the final score 22-0.

With Darlington Mowden Park Sharks looking to build on a good win against Wasps last week and Aylesford Bulls looking to secure their first win of the season, this clash was always set to be an exciting one.

Sharks started well with an early try from Scotland winger Katy Green, but the Bulls hit back almost immediately, Georgia Natalie scoing on 20 minutes.

With both tries unconverted, the score stayed at 5-5 for much of the first half, Sharks also losing lock Sarah Jones to the sin bin for a team offence. On the stroke of half time, some excellent attacking play by the Sharks saw try-machine Ruth Laybourn score under the posts. With England fly-half Katy Mclean converting, Sharks led 12-5 at the break.

The second half started strongly for the Bulls, and they scored quickly after an impressive line break by Deborah Hardwood. The score was converted by fly half Florence Williams, and the scores were once again level at 12-12.

Back to a full complement of players shortly afterwards, the Sharks kicked into action. Mclean scored an excellent individual try ten minutes after the break, followed by a well-created debut score for winger Sophie Lee.

Coming off the bench, scrum half Fiona Davidson made an instant impact for the Sharks; a brilliant solo run and offload to centre Jen Edwards only denied by excellent cover tackling from the Bulls.

Hooker Charlie Lewis wasn’t to be denied though, as moments later she burrowed her way through the Bulls’ defensive line. Mclean again struck the conversion.

The Sharks continued to dominate and although the Bulls were well organised and dogged in their defence, a clever chip through by fly half Rebecca Scholes allowed centre Edwards to wrap up the game as she touched down in the corner to end the game 34-12.

Bristol continue to keep the heat on league leaders Saracens and Richmond with a fourth win of the season on Sunday with Lichfield this time on the end of a 33-0 defeat.

Sasha Acheson, who last week was called up to the England squad for their Autumn International Series against France and Canada, impressed by running in  a hat-trick of tries. England’s Kay Wilson came close to matching that with a brace, England centre Amber Reed adding four conversions.