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Women’s Premiership round seven: Richmond close in on Saracens

28 October 2013

  • Saracens stay top of the table after Lichfield win
  • Richmond keep the pressure on with five-try victory
England and Darlington Mowden Park Sharks' Tamara Taylor

Photo: Rugbymatters.net

Competition at the top of the Premiership table remains fierce after both Saracens and Richmond picked up wins at the weekend.

Saracens edge their London rivals by the smallest of margins – just two points separate the two teams – and both sides will be doing their utmost to continue their rich vein of form when the Premiership resumes on November 17 after a break for the autumn internationals.

Saracens made the most of the blustery conditions when they visited Lichfield’s Cooke Fields on Sunday. Playing with the wind in the first half, they kicked into the corners well to ensure that Lichfield were pinned into their own half.

The visitors started strongly with two early tries, including one for skipper Maggie Alphonsi who scored from a pick and go. Saracens continued to find it all too easy to gain territory with the boot and earned themselves two more tries to finish off a bullish first half. The first came from inside centre Georgia Peedle, who ran a hard line from a Saracens scrum, and the second from her centre partner Hannah Casey. Both were converted by fly half Sarah McKenna.

Lichfield’s efforts in both attack and defence were not to go unrewarded though. After fighting to keep possession and again working their way up the field, they eventually broke down Saracens’ defence and some good handling saw winger Chelsey Fuggle score in the corner, making the score 5-24 to Saracens at half-time.

The second half was a much more even affair, with some fantastic running rugby from both teams. A well-worked break from Lichfield saw No. 8 Vicky Fleetwood score in the corner. Outside centre Vicki Jackson converted to reduce the deficit to 12-24 on 60 minutes. 

This was where Lichfield’s charge ended, however, as Saracens ran in two more tries, including a second touchdown for Alphonsi.

Richmond, meanwhile, initially made hard work of their clash against London rivals Wasps on Sunday allowing their mistakes to become opportunities for Wasps.

Richmond let themselves down with several knock ons and the game was fairly untidy. Wasps handled the disjointed structure better and sent Davinia Monteiro over for a try after 30 minutes but in the end Richmond turned it around to lead 7-5 at the break with Annabel Sergeant scoring from a turnover. Abigail Chamberlain added the conversion.

The second half started with a well-worked try for Richmond, Vicki Cornborough grabbing the first of three tries for the front row. Elisha Dee made an appearance at 60 minutes and immediately turned over the Wasps scrum to allow Becky Essex to score from the back.

Dee was involved again when Richmond won a penalty from the scrum, which was taken quickly, allowing Sergeant to score her second. Chamberlain again converted.

It was all one-way traffic from there on in with Dee and Essex scoring to make the final score 41-5.

Bristol are keeping the pressure on the league front-runners with a fifth win of the season on Sunday, this time over bottom of the table Aylesford.

The Aylesford Bulls fought hard in the difficult conditions but Bristol soon breached the Aylesford line with a try from Nia Davies out wide.

Aylesford hit back with Deborah Harwood running in minutes later but once again Bristol cancelled out that score with their backs getting the ball out wide to Katie Mason, who scored with relative ease. Fly half Eleanor Snowsill added the conversion.

Mason added her second soon after, despite some good work for the Bulls, before a number of missed tackles led to Bristol quickly adding two more tries from Davies and Kay Wilson, making the score 5-27 at half-time.

Bulls came back with renewed vigour after the break and a great team effort saw them work up the pitch, which resulted in Charmaine Kayser touching down.

The Bulls also enjoyed more possession in the second half and did not make life easy for Bristol, but in the end they couldn’t halt a determined outfit that ran in two further tries making the final score 10-41 to Bristol.

Reigning Premiership champions Worcester registered a much-needed bonus point win against Darlington Mowden Park Sharks at the weekend.

Worcester started well, dominating possession, and they registered the first points with a well-struck penalty from centre Megan Goddard.

Worcester continued to pressurise the Sharks’ line but failed to convert this into points until England fly half Ceri Large capitalised on a poor clearance kick to charge over. Goddard collected the extras.

Worcester’s second try came after another Sharks error with flanker Lisa Campbell beating the cover defence to touch down.

Nearing the break some slick handling under pressure in the Worcester midfield made space for winger Sam Bree to then run in Worcester’s third. With Goddard adding the conversion the home side were in a comfortable 22-0 lead.

Heading into the second half, Worcester exploded out of the blocks with wing Lydia Thompson scoring a superb individual try after collecting a Sharks clearance kick. England prop Rochelle Clark then picked and went over just minutes later before Thompson scored her second on 60 minutes with a searing run down the touchline from a well-worked midfield scrum move.

The Sharks continued to battle though and were rewarded with a try for centre Jen Edwards on 75 minutes. Worcester, however, had the final word when 18-year-old centre Sophie Watkiss scored after taking a quick tap penalty. Large couldn’t convert but it didn’t matter as Worcester took a convincing 46-5 win.

 

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