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Irish & English league wrap

We bring you the latest from the domestic leagues in Ireland and England from the weekend

IRELAND

UL Bohemians v Railway Union and Blackrock v Old Belvedere are the semi-final match-ups in the Women's All-Ireland League following a dramatic final round of the regular season, Kate Rowan wrote for IrishRugby.ie. The two semi-finals take place next Sunday with the final scheduled for Saturday, December 12 at Donnybrook (kick-off 6pm).

UL Bohemians finished top of the table after shattering Blackrock's unbeaten record with the Limerick side running out 22-7 winners. Bohs winger Liz Bourke broke away to touch down in the 33rd minute but Blackrock hit back through Tania Rosser to lad 7-5 at halftime. UL dazzled Blackrock with two tries in quick succession, the first from Pearse six minutes in and then Bourke dashed down the wing to score her second of the afternoon with 52 minutes gone. Niamh Briggs converted Bourke's second try.

Bohs secured a vital bonus point victory when Bourke completed her hat-trick in the 70th minute to secure a 22-7 win.

Reigning champions Old Belvedere secured third place with a gritty 15-8 away win over Galwegians. Mairead Coyne, playing at full-back scored early for the Galway side but Old Belvedere came back with a score from Aine Donnelly and at the 25-minute mark 'Belvo seized the initiative as openside Niamh Fitzgerald crossed the whitewash. Nora Stapleton missed both conversion attempts, leaving it 10-5 to the Dubliners at the break.

An early second half penalty from the boot of Fowley helped Galwegians narrow the gap to just two points. In an extremely physical game, two-time Six Nations-winning out-half Stapleton scored her side's third try of the afternoon and what eventually proved to be the match winner. The result saw Galwegians fall out of the top four and miss out on a semi-final spot.

The last play-off position was claimed by a rampant Railway Union who put Cooke to the sword with a ten-try performance at Park Lane, winning by a margin of 62-5.

Try scorers for the Dublin 4 outfit included outside centre and Ireland Sevens cap Martina McCarthy, tighthead prop Aoife Maher, hooker Cliodhna Moloney, who received her first international cap against England two weeks ago, full-back Claire Ryan, Leinster flanker Jenny Finlay and scrum half Sarah Jane Cody.

Meanwhile, Queen's University were unable to field a full team over the weekend and were forced to concede their away fixture to Highfield..

The semi finals will be contested next weekend between UL Bohemians and Railway Union and Blackrock and Old Belvedere.

ENGLAND

‚ÄčSaracens edged closer to Richmond at the top of the table with a 20-5 in poor weather conditions.

There was little between the teams for most of the opening half hour though the Richmond scrum was dominant.  Saracens’ Georgie Gulliver was yellow carded on 28 minutes and this seemed to be the catalyst Saracens needed to step up a gear. A forward surge saw them drive over the line for the 5-0 lead and soon after Saracens’ Brooke Sim charged down a kick to score a second just before half time.

On 60 minutes Nina Vistisen grabbed a third for Saracens though Richmond hit back through a Leanne Riley try.

Saracens came straight back at Richmond, with Poppy Cleall making an excellent break to put Sonia Green in, who scored to help close the gap to 2 points at the top of the table.

Worcester beat Wasps 29-10 at home. Rochelle Clark opened the scoring after a rolling maul and Rachel Lund followed her over 10 minutes later for a good lead. Kelly Smith worked her way into space, then outpaced three defenders to add to the lead and despite the conditions, Bianca Blackburn kicked a superb conversion. More power play from the forwards saw Ammie Lensson increase the lead, Blackburn again taking extras to send the home team into the changing rooms at half time, comforted by hot soup and a 22 -0 lead.

Lund scored her second try after the break for the bonus point though Wasps hit back with tries for Clare Purdy and Hannah West.

In a high scoring affair Lichfield beat Aylesford Bulls 55-0. Sarah Nicholas  opened the scoring for Lichfield with a long range penalty and the hosts added three quick tries after 5,7 and 13 minutes through Carys Hall, Amy Cokayne and Hannah Smith for a 22-0 halftime lead.

In the second half Hannah Smith and Carys Hall both scored their second tries of the game after 44 and 49 minutes to ensure the try bonus point for Lichfield, with Nicholas adding two conversions to make it 36-0.

Emily Braund added another try, scoring in the corner after 53 minutes. Lichfield then added two further well worked tries after 60 and 79 minutes through Jess Feeley and Justine Lucas, both converted by Sarah Nicholas to bring the final score to 55-0.

Bristol beat DMP Sharks 17-10, dominating the first half, scoring three unanswered tries.

Sian Moore , Clara Nielson and Olivia Jones to touched down for a 17-0 halftime lead.

 DMP took advantage of a yellow card after the break with a try for Rachael Worsey and late in the game, they capitalised from another yellow card with a try for Amy Needham.

 Richmond, Saracens, Bristol and Lichfield occupy the top four semi-final spots as things stand but with two rounds to go, Worcester will also have a chance to get in amongst it as they sit just two points outside the top four. Wasps in 6th cannot make the playoffs now but at the bottom of the table Aylesford still have am outside chance to avoid relegation - they are six points behind Darlington but dauntingly play the top two sides in their final matches. 

Photo of Worcester v Wasps thanks to AJB Photographic