By Ali Donnelly
England scored a massive 89-0 victory over Scotland at Twickenham on Sunday taking them one step closer to their sixth title in a row.
The result was the largest ever margin between these two sides (the previous record was 72-3) with England turning on the style in front of a large crowd on home soil.
England got off to the perfect start when Kat Merchant rounded Scottish fullback Caroline Collie to score after just three minutes. Katy Mclean had set the tempo with a booming kick into Scottish territory and a messy lineout saw the ball move one way and then the other with Merchant able to use her pace to go round out wide.
McLean missed the conversion but Englands lead was quickly doubled when Fran Matthews dived over in the corner this time Englands backs just putting too much pace on the ball for Scotland to deal with.
On the other wing, Merchant was already having a big impact, and was probably afforded far too much space for a player of her talent with Scotland relying on two huge tackles from captain Suzie Brown to help them stem another attack.
Emily Scaratt was next on the scoreboard this one a simple burst through the midfield from a scrum in Englands 22 and an excellent effort from lock Becky Essex followed as she showed a remarkable turn of pace taking her around the Scottish backs and despite being badly high tackled as she dove for the line she kept her composure to touch down.
Scotland then had their best period of the half with some good controlled play allowing them some rare possession with centres Annabel Sergeant and Steph Johnston showing some good touches but there was little reprieve as England came at them again and a turnover scrum in Scotlands 22 helped Rocky Clarke to push over out wide. England led 29-0 after 33 minutes.
Matthews then crashed over out wide to push the score out even more and then Heather Fisher broke through the middle for an England half time lead of 41-0. Fisher was over again right after the break with her trademark burst through from the restart with the conversion making it 48-0. The biggest cheer of the day was reserved for Maggie Alphonsi when she came off the bench.
England now looked like scoring every time they moved the ball wide and Scotland struggled hard to make their tackles count as the home team dominated territory and possession. Minutes later Scaratt was over again and Alphonsi made an immediate impact with a fine break and when the ball moved wide again Clarke was on hand to drive over for her second try.
England were now moving ominously close to breaking their highest ever margin against the Scots which came two years ago when they won 72-3 and with Alphonsi scoring again to make it 65-0 with 15 minutes left that looked very likely.
Scotland, who were hardly thinking about that, then put together their first real attack of the half and worked play well into Englands 22 with fine work from Brown but their effort was thwarted by a turnover and then England turned defence into attack with McLean going over at the other end.
Alphonsi was the one to fittingly give England the record breaking score when she was on the end of a Waterman pass and there were a further two tries from Waterman to round it off.
(Images thanks to Ilona O'Donnell)
Scotland: Caroline Collie (Old Albanians), Katy Green (Murrayfield Wanderers), Annabel Sergeant (Dundee University), Steph Johnston (Hillhead / Jordanhill), Laura Steven (Murrayfield Wanderers), Lisa Martin (Murrayfield Wanderers), Louise Dalgliesh (RHC Cougars), Heather Lockhart (Hillhead / Jordanhill), Lindsey Smith (Hillhead / Jordanhill), Tracy Balmer (Worcester), Anna Swan (Edinburgh University), Lindsay Wheeler (Darlington Mowden Sharks), Charlotte Veale (London Wasps), Ruth Slaven (Murrayfield Wanderers), Susie Brown (Richmond)
England: Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), Katherine Merchant (Worcester), Rachael Burford (Richmond), Kimberley Oliver (Bristol), Francesca Matthews (Richmond), Katy Mclean (C) (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), La Toya Mason (Wasps), Rochelle Clark (Worcester), Amy Garnett (Saracens), Sophie Hemming (Bristol), Rebecca Essex(Richmond), Joanna McGilchrist (Wasps), Sarah Hunter (Lichfield), Heather Fisher(Worcester), Catherine Spencer (Bristol)