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Women’s Premiership Review – round nine

27 November 2013

  • Saracens top table with Wasps win
  • Worcester edge out Lichfield in Midlands derby
England and Lichfield's Georgina Gulliver

Photo: Rugbymatters.net

A convincing 36-0 defeat of Wasps on Sunday keeps Saracens top of the table in the Women’s Premiership.

Saracens executed a dominant first half to put them into a strong position to secure the victory at Allianz Park.

Wasps found themselves 12-0 down within the first 15 minutes after tries from Hannah Gallagher, Lindsay Wheeler and the boot of April Brown.

Saracens’ well organised set piece was too much for Wasps as they struggled, and Wheeler scored again before the end of the half after hard work from the ever present Maggie Alphonsi. Prop Olivia De Merchant then added the home side's fourth try showing her physicality around the breakdown. The accurate kicking of Brown allowed Saracens to head into the second half with a 24-0 lead.

Wasps came out after the restart with renewed energy and Jane Leonard showed her class disrupting Saracens whilst Tina Lee was also ever present. Wasps couldn’t convert that pressure into points though and with Wheeler and Gallagher mirroring their first half efforts and scoring another try a piece, Brown converted her third kick of the game to make the final score 36-0.

Despite losing three players to England Sevens duty at the weekend Richmond were in emphatic form on Sunday running in a 79-5 win over Aylesford Bulls.

Kiri Lose and Jayne Goodliffe made their first team debuts and both showed the depth of talent available to head coach Karen Findlay with strong performances.

Richmond opened the scoring on the second minute with Oli Davies storming over in the corner. Laura Jenkins added the second try before Jo Watmore scored Richmond’s third in the opening ten minutes, both converted by Goodliffe.

Lynne Cantwell then went over after an excellent piece of back row interplay with Jenkins, Becky Essex and Tess Forsberg; all taking a turn to offload to the other. Essex added another try a few minutes later before Watmore, Molly Kinsella and Forsberg added one each. Goodliffe kicked another three conversions to give Richmond a 50-0 lead at half time.

Never one to shy away from a try-scoring opportunity, Elisha Dee added to the tally after half time. Debutant Lose got the tenth try, Emma Croker and Sara Anastasi adding the next two before Davies added her second to the list. Goodliffe converted another two tries to seal the lofty victory.

Aylesford kept trying until the end and were rewarded with a try from Megan Snape.

Worcester completed the season double over local rivals Lichfield at the weekend with a hard fought 20-17 victory.

Worcester did, however, initially struggle and the reigning champions inconsistent form this term was on view once again.

Lichfield threw everything at the visitors from the onset and their constant pressure was eventually rewarded with an excellent move along the back line which resulted in a try for the wing Sarah Nicholas.

Lichfield’s recent run of poor form appeared to over and their new found confidence increased as the game progressed. Worcester’s defence were guilty of a lack of concentration, from which the home side took full advantage for Emily Braund to run an impressive line, thwarting a valiant attempt from full back Steph Johnston at a saving tackle, making the score 10-0.

This was the wake-up call Worcester needed though and Midlanders started to show some of their attacking flair with Steph Johnson and Lauren Chenoweth prominent.

Following a turnover, Worcester’s played the phases then released player of the game Steph Johnston to sweep through a defensive gap, elude two defenders and score under the posts. Megan Goddard duly obliged with the extras. Goddard then added a penalty on the stroke of half time making the score 10-10.

Worcester’s momentum continued after the restart and some great creativity and vision from England fly half Ceri Large placed a cross kick into space for the chasing Johnson to secure her brace. Goddard continued her kicking form and Worcester edged into a 17-10 lead.

Lichfield were, however, clearly determined to get a result and their persistence and some very poor defensive play from Worcester put them right back in the game. England scrum half Natasha Hunt saw the gaps when a penalty was awarded, tapped and fed Jackson with a superb pass from which she scored with some style. Hunt took over the kicking duties and was successful with her kick to level the scores at 17 each.

With the game running into the final stages, a draw looked on the cards but Worcester’s Lauren Chenoweth set off on a devastating run offloading almost on the line to Sophie Watkiss, but her touchdown was judged to be held up and a five metre scrum was duly awarded. Worcester’s superiority in the scrum was again evident, with a penalty being subsequently awarded for Goddard to finish an excellent personal afternoon and give Worcester the game by three points.

Bristol, meanwhile, remain third in the Premiership title despite a 14-25 defeat to Darlington Mowden Park Sharks at home.

England’s Amber Reed ran the show for the home side scoring two tries and converting both scores, but the Sharks were in better form and England Captain Katy Mclean and Julie Hope ran in the tries for the resurgent Sharks to take their fifth win of the season.