There were wins for Saracens, Bristol, Worceser and Richmond in round three of the English Women's Premiership.
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Wasps 10 Saracens 34
Although Wasps will have been aggrieved not have put more points on the board in a game where Saracens ended playing with 13 players, the north Londoners were full value for this bonus point win.
Saracens started very strongly with an early unconverted try from backrow star Maggie Alphonsi.
Wasps hit back with some patient pick and drives up front and after a period of pressure in the Saracens 22, Hannah Edwards knocked over a penalty to make it 3-5.
Saracens then took control of the game as hard running from centre Poppy Cleall and Alphonsi gave them plenty of momentum. A scrum inside the Wasps 22 was well controlled and Leanne Riley brushed off the challenge of Toya Mason to sprint in under the posts for a try converted by Lauren Cattel.
Wasps spent the last few minutes of the first half searching for a score in reply and did have the ball over the line only for it to be held up and Saracens eventually cleared, with Michaela Staniford running some excellent lines.
The second half began with Saracens dominant and some impressive defence helped them convert another early try – this time Leah Morley finishing off powerfully after Alphonsi had forced the turnover in the tackle.
Wasps lost the influential Marlie Packer to injury, with the number 8 having contributed some strong runs and tackles in the match and Saracens took advantage of the disruption to score again through Leah Carey and then grab the bonus point after some nice hands out wide allowed Stacey White to score and Sarah McKenna to put over the conversion.
There was still time for one more score from the visitors, with Alphoni crashing over after a well organised rolling maul in the Wasps 22.
Wasps to their credit never gave up, and pushed hard in the closing minutes. They were rewarded with a nice finish from Becca Rowe and then spent the final minutes hammering away at the Saracens line. Four penalties and two yellow cards for Saracens meant they could feel hard done by not to have been awarded a penalty try, but the game was already well beyond reach.
Bristol 38 DMP Sharks 10
Bristol travelled to DMP in buoyant mood after a good win over Wasps the week before and were rewarded with a fine away win.
The visitors scored early, after DMP’s kickoff didn’t reach the 10m mark and from the resulting scrum, Bristol went through the phases and scored through Sasha Acheson with the try converted by Amber Reed.
England fly half Katy McLean kicked a penalty in reply but Bristol hit back straight away when Reed dinked through a nice chip and Clare Molloy pounced to grab the second try, again converted by Reed.
Five minutes later. El Snowshill spotting a gap in defence, and using fast footwork snaked through to score. Reed added the extras as the visitors took control of the match.
Before the break some nice hands brought the fourth try which saw Amy Wilson-Hardy crash over.
The home side significantly upped their forward work rate I the second half and McLean got her backs running with a well worked score and convertion.
A nice pass from Izzy Noel-Smith saw Welsh international Philippa Tuttiett score in the corner for the bonus point for Bristol and she was over again before the end to put the icing on the cake.
Bristol now have two wins from three and will be pleased with their early efforts going into the week off.
Lichfield 8 Worcester 32
With Lichfield seeing the return of experienced trio Sarah Hunter, Harriet Millar-Mills and Emily Scarratt, hopes were high that Lichfield could record their first win of the season, but a superb second half saw Worcester through.
Lichfield started well, absorbing some early Worcester pressure and getting the first points through a penalty from Scarratt.
The Lichfield pack were making strong inroads and Emily Braund crashed over after some good interplay up front for their first try.
Scarratt’s strong kicking game kept Worcester pinned back but the home side then lost Vicky Fleetwood to injury, who had started very well and whose loss as a blow.
Worcester got back into it before the break with penalty and the teams turned around with Lichfield 8-3 up, with Megan Goddard adding the kick.
The second half a number of personnel changes for Lichfield, resting their returning England players and that, as well as Worcester’s major improvement, saw the game change significantly.
Worcester took the game to Lichfield from the kick off and after two minutes Kat Merchant had levelled the score with a powerful run along the wing.
Persistent infringements saw Braund sent to the bin and Worcester took full advantage. Karen Jones, a half time replacement, had a significant impact on the game and her contribution was rewarded with a try, forcing her way over the line following excellent work from a Rochelle Clarke tapped penalty.
Ceri Large then added another try before Merchant collected her brace and Goddard converted both.
Worcester’s dynamic second half was rewarded with the bonus point try, Steph Johnson, scoring in the corner having outpaced the Lichfield defence.
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Aylesford Bulls 0 Richmond 62
Life doesn’t get any easier for Aylesford Bulls in the Premiership as they hosted league leaders Richmond at the weekend.
Despite the scoreline though, the home side are showing improvement week on week and started well, taking the game to the visitors and defending well.
It took Richmond about 15 minutes to breach the line through Holly Myers as the hosts did their best to withstand a staunch wave of attacking.
Richmond were quick to captailise on some strong line breaks, and scored four quick tries from England players, Jo Watmore, Becky Essex and Claire Allan, with another from Myers before the break for a 38-0 halftime lead with Alice Richardson adding the extras.
Strong running and well-timed tackles from Deborah Harwood and debutante Ellie Ambridge saw Ayelsford continue their effort after the break with Catherine Spencer working hard around the fringes with Megan Snape.
Myers, though continued to prove a handful a she soon added her third score and Essex crashed over to make it 50-0. Tries for Oli Davies and Richardson rounded things off for Richmond, who in this form look like significant title contenders, even at this early stage of the season.