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Bristol & Lichfield lead the way

Bristol's impressive start continued in the English Women's Premiership as they secured a huge win against Worcester while Lichfield also continued their unbeaten run with a win over Wasps.

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Saracens 34 Richmond 14

Richmond’s difficult start to the season continued with a 20 point loss to London rivals Saracens. After falling short to Richmond in two finals last season, Saracens took their opportunities and controlled proceedings throughout.  

Speedster Garnet Mackinder got Sarries off the mark after nine minutes as she turned the burners on from eighty metres out leaving a trail of defenders in her wake to score.Solid work from the Saracens pack at scrum time put them on the front foot as the new look midfield of Georgia Peedle and debutant Claire Allan linked up neatly for full back Nina Vistisen to slice her way through and cross the whitewash.

Richmond battled back into the game with strong carries from hooker Emma Croker and number 8 Sam McCarthy both making good yards.  The home side were given a let off however as a penalty kick was overcooked giving them the opportunity to clear their lines.On the half hour mark Mackinder struck again; fly half Zoe Harrison pulling the strings in the midfield to work the overlap and put the winger over.

Saracens added to their lead through Chrissy Siczowa as she stormed down the wing for the home side’s fourth try.A well weighted kick through from Richmond put them deep into Sarries territory and with the ensuing lineout not finding its mark, Richmond were granted an opportunity to set up and drive.  Flanker Becky Roby was shown yellow following as Sarries were forced to stop the maul illegally but Sarries weathered the storm as the lineout was turned over.

New signing Emily Scott showed her class as she pounced on a loose ball and danced her way through the defence to put Harrison through for the try bonus point.

Last season’s champions continued to fight and were rewarded as centre Becky Ball slipped through a tackle to go over for Richmond’s first of the afternoon with ten minutes left on the clock. It was the visitors who had the final say in the last minute of the game as the impressive McCarthy powered over from close range.

Saracens coach Rob Cain said: “We expected a tough physical encounter and we weren't disappointed by Richmond today. We learnt from last week, let go of the disappointment and worked on a few areas which improved our performance. We did the right things at the right times under pressure so full credit to the players.”

Worcester Valkyries 10 Bristol 60

Bristol made it three from three with a convincing win over Worcester Valkyries on Saturday.

A dominant performance saw Bristol put nine tries passed the Valkyries who were hindered by two yellow cards within two minutes during the first half.

Izzy Noel Smith and Marlie Packer opened the scoring for Bristol in the first 10 minutes, with Packer safely guiding the ball over the line a second time from a driving maul off the back of a line out. Amber Reed added a penalty kick taking the score to 0 – 20 after 20 minutes.

After 30 minutes Meg Jones – who was on restricted play time post the Olympics - was replaced by Olympian Jasmine Joyce and eight minutes later Joyce helped Lottie Holland score under the post. The score was 3 – 27 at half time, as Worcester successfully kicked a penalty.

The second half started with the same intent as the first, seeing tries from Joyce (2), Sasha Acheson. Chantelle Miell and Clara Nielson. Amber Reed was on form with her conversions, and at 70 minutes to score stood at 3 – 60 to the away team.

Worcester piled on the pressure for the last ten minutes, determined to come away with something – and their persistence paid off with a try on 76 minutes. 

Lichfield 33 Wasps 26

Lichfield continued their great start to the new season with a hard fought victory over Wasps. An impressive start from Lichfield put them on the front foot within the first four minutes of the game with two early tries.

Charlotte Murray and Carys Hall grabbed a try a piece with Amy Cokayne converting both. Ten minutes later Hannah Phillip finished off a team try from a driving maul to extend the lead. Wasps stepped up with some outstanding defence for the remainder of the first half to keep Lichfield away from the try line. 

Wasps came out of the blocks well with Rebecca Rowe scoring early and Ashley Perry scored minutes later with Hannah Edwards converting both. Lichfield regrouped and fought out of their own 22 with Harriet Miller Mills creating a break way try, once again converted by Cokayne. Lichfield hit again, working the ball to the outside and Carys Williams go the last try for Lichfield in the corner. 

At the 60 minute mark the game looked like it was all over wit Lichfield up 33- 14 with a bonus point but Wasps had other ideas, upped their intensity and hit back with impressive intent. 

Wasps worked the ball through the phases for a 70th minute try and crashed over again in the final minute to ensure two bonus points. 

It was overall a good day for Lichfield Ladies who had over 60 females playing in competitive games, with their U18 girls having a first round win in the National Cup and the club’s green team, who are newly promoted into Championship North, securing their second win of the season.

Aylesford Bulls 43 DMP Sharks 5

Despite opening the scoring in this game at Surrey Sports Park, DMP Sharks returned home empty handed. 

They were ahead after just five minutes when some slick offloading sent Tamara Taylor charging into the Aylesford 22 and a quick dummy was enough to throw off the defence as the England lock dived over the line.

This was the start of a bright period for Sharks who won plenty of possesson, but despite their progress, their own indiscipline gave Aylesford good field position eventually leading their first score from Welsh international Bethan Daintin. A succession of penalties led to the next score when winger Mackenzie Thomas was sin binned for a deliberate knock on and Aylesford took advantage quickly and scored out wide on the stroke of half time through Amy Turner to finish the half 10-5 ahead. 

This was very much a game of two halves and Aylesford started the second half in powerful fashion making life very difficult for the Sharks.

Key changes in the Aylesford backline made an instant impact and saw Sharks under pressure with the ball being played out wide effectively. This was a turning point in the game and Sharks struggled to live with the pace and accuracy of the Aylesford attack. This, combined with some Sharks indiscipline saw Aylesford score three tries in the first 20 minutes of the second half with Kate Hancock and Fiona Pocock among the scorers. 

Fresh legs helped to solidify the Sharks scrum but was not enough to thwart the Aylesford wide attack. Another three tries put the game to bed leaving the final score 43-5 with Vickki Cornborough and Dainton getting over the line in impressive fashion.