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Women’s Premiership Review – Round Two

18 September 2012

  • A look at Round Two of the Women's Premiership
  • Wins for Worcester, Lichfield and Bristol

Worcester are the early table-toppers in the Premiership after their second win of the season was a huge margin over Darlington Mowden Park Sharks. Bristol's win over Saracens keeps them up there too while a draw between Wasps and Richmond keeps them in the top four. Lichfield are next with their win over Thurrock. While Saracens, Thurrock and DMP are still searching for their first win.

Worcester 72 Darlington Mowden Park Sharks 12

Action from Worcester's win over DMP Sharks

Photo: RFU Archive

Worcester maintained their early season momentum to produce an impressive performance in their second game.

The home team started in much the same vein as the opening game of the season and scored after five minutes with a well worked move which resulted in a try for Jenny Brightmore. Megan Goddard collected the extras. Four minutes later Brightmore picked up brace, completing a fine forwards drive to give Worcester a 12-point lead.

Sharks regrouped and some creative probing by England captain Katy McLean put the forwards onto the Worcester five metre line, and despite some desperate defending, Sally Austin drove over for a fine forwards try.

Six minutes later Rochelle Clark forced her way over the line with Megan Goddard again converting for a 19-5 lead. Worcester led 24-12 at the break thanks to another try from Kat Merchant and Sharks hit back with a try from the speedy Ruth Laybourn who intercepted a promising Worcester move and raced from the 22 to score.

The second half saw the home team repeat the opening intensity with Jo Watmore, Merchant, Sarah Guest and Charlotte Keane all crossing the line within the opening 20 minutes and Sharks had no response to the exciting and pacing pattern of play that was now emerging from the Worcester backs.

Heather Fisher showed her power to grab two more tries and there were further touchdowns for Megan Goddard and Ceri Large. Two good wins now see Worcester top the table and they face the unbeaten Bristol next time out.

Thurrock 10 Lichfield 29

Litchfield and England's Georgina Rozario

Photo: rugbymatters.net

Thurrock were denied a losing bonus point and their first ever Premiership league points when Lichfield raced over for two late tries.

For a short time the T-Birds were in the lead, but ultimately a Lichfield side who finished third place last season and full of quality triumphed and denied the Ts a losing bonus point with a last minute try.

Following the heavy defeat to Wasps and a week of hard effort trying to put things right, the T-Birds started brightly in front of their vociferous home crowd.

Poor ball from an attacking scum deep in the Lichfield 22, with the defence pressing hard, resulted in Emily Scott chipping through.  With the defence failing to deal with the awkward bounce, India Harvey chased well to collect the loose ball and score, putting Ts ahead 5-0.

Winning the restart, Ts pressed well until a kick for position was cleanly taken by the defence and Lichfield unleashed their backs. With a T’s wing at the bottom of a ruck, Lichfield manufactured an overlap to strand the full back and put England star Emily Scarratt through under the posts for a 7-5 lead, which is how it remained until the break.

As the second half started both sides put together good periods of attack, but with 10 minutes gone turnover ball in their own half set Mills away again. Slipping through a defensive gap on her own 10 metre line, she beat the full back to score under the posts to make the score 17-5.

T’s were denied the ball by fine Lichfield play but defended well for a long period until turnover ball allowed Rachel Burford to make a good break up the right wing, despite a strong tackle, she got the ball away to Dannie Harris running in close support who took ball and tackler over the line to give the Ts hope at 17-10.

For the next 10 minutes with good play from both sides Ts looked most likely to score, but then didn’t touch the ball as Lichfield put together a purple patch five minutes as with Scarratt scored one and set up another to deny Thurrock anything from the game.

Saracens 7-27 Bristol

Bristol headed to North London full confidence and it showed early on, as slick passing between their backs and forwards led to back row Claire Molly dotting down in the corner within the first few minutes to give an early 5-0 lead.

Bristol continued with relentless surges from Marlie Packer who was busy throughout her time on the field, and eventually the pressure told when prop Sasha Achceson pushed over from close to the line to make it 10-0.

Saracens managed to put together some phases of play with Leanne Rielly and Mandy Marchak showing up well. However, frustrating handling errors close to the Bristol line relieved the pressure.

Bristol had the final say in the first half when the quick-fire Sally Tuson raced over with a fine solo effort in the corner, excellently converted by Amber Reed to make it 17-0.

Saracens not be outdone, went back to basics with a hard running game and eventually were rewarded when livewire scrum half Leanne Rielly took a quick tap penalty to score under the posts. Marchak added the conversion as Bristol went in the half time ahead, 17-7.

Saracens once again found a strong second performance and took the game back to Bristol with well worked linking between backs and forwards, of which back row Sonia Green and wing Stacey White and replacement centre Kay Edwards were prominent. However, once again handling errors and key turnovers, a result of great breakdown work from Bristol in critical scoring areas, meant Saracens were not able to cross the line again.

Bristol’s replacement centre Kim Oliver added further quality distribution skills to the Bristol backline and it opened up the game in the final ten minutes for wing Tuson and impressive full back Kate Hannock, to both score once again to settle the final score at 27-7.

Richmond 10-10 Wasps

Richmond's Abi Chamberlain carries the ball forward

Photo: rugbymatters.net

London rivals Richmond and Wasps contested an even match which ended all square in both side’s second match of the new season.

Richmond managed the breakdown well and centre Alice Richardson ran through the field before passing to Claire Allan who opened the scoring after 14 minutes to make it 5-0, which is how the score remained until the second half.

After the break both teams demonstrated positive attacking play. Richmond’s Sophie Nicholas made a break down the right wing before being bundled into touch on the 22. Nic Hoole continued her form from last week with strong hand offs getting her through the Wasps defence only for the dreaded handling errors to reappear.

The home side finally strung together several attacking phases of play, but Rowena Burnfield was held up over the line. The Richmond scrum appeared stronger and the resulting attack on the Wasps line had their 6, Charlie Veale, sin binned for offside. Richmond continued to bombard the Wasps line and from defence Hoole stole the ball for Richmond and dived over to make it 10-0.

In the final 20 minutes Richmond were penalised for not rolling away and Sara Anastasi was sent to the bin, Wasps finally broke through after a lineout on Richmond's 22 led to a score from wing Ali Wright to reduce the deficit to five.

Wasps continued to pressure Richmond in the final 10 minutes and were rewarded with another try from Davinia Monterio with just three minutes to go. There were a few sharp breaths from the Richmond fans as the conversion looked dangerously close to going over before falling away to the left of the posts to make it 10-10.