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Richmond crowned Women’s Premiership champions

23 January 2014

  • Richmond take title with Bristol win
  • Saracens pipped at the post in final game
Richmond's Fran Matthews

Photo: Rugbymatters.net

Richmond have been crowned the 2013-14 Women’s Premiership champions after an impressive season that went right down to the wire this week.

The Londoners went into Wednesday’s final league game knowing they had to take victory over rivals Bristol to deny Saracens, the league leaders for most of the season, the title.

And Richmond did just that. Led superbly by international duo Emma Croker (England) and Lynne Cantwell (Ireland), Bristol had little response as Richmond charged to a 75-0 victory at Newbury RFC. The league title hands Richmond an impressive fourth Premiership crown in five years.

In a 13-try showing, England’s Becky Essex and Richmond centre Joanne Watmore both scored a hat-trick of tries, whilst tight-head prop Ellisha Dee added a brace to her impressive tally this season.

Saracens, who will be ruing their 14-13 defeat to Richmond in December, have to now settle for a second-place finish while Bristol recorded their highest ever finish in the Premiership with third place.

Last year’s Premiership winners Worcester have to settle for a fourth-place standing, just ahead of Darlington Mowden Parks Sharks who were much improved this season.

Bringing up the rear, both Lichfield and Wasps will be disappointed with their sixth- and seventh-place finishes respectively while newcomers this season, Aylesford Bulls, prop up the table with just one win.

The unusually early end to the Premiership season in 2014 has been designed to allow international players to focus on the forthcoming Six Nations championship and the Rugby World Cup in France in August.