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Saracens crowned English champions

Saracens claimed the inaugural Tryells Premier 15s title with a 24-20 win over Harlequins in a superb final in west London. 

The organisers and brains behind the Tyrells Premier 15s will have watched on with great pleasure at a free flowing final, full of heart and energy that went right to the final whistle in a game shown live on Sky Sports. 

Saracens were deserved winners having led from the fifth minute, but it would not have been unjust if Harlequins had snatched at at the death, such was their improved second half showing and their determination to get back in a game that at one point appeared to be slipping away from them.

The back row of Bryony and Poppy Cleall and Marlie Packer excelled when they were on the field together, while Shaunagh Brown and Vickii Cornborough had standout games for Harlequins. 

Sam Martinez Gion got Saracens on the board early with a try after just five minutes. With young prop Hannah Botterman throwing a fantastic offload close to the line, but Quins had reduced the gap within minutes with Ellie Green kicking a penalty. 

It looked like Poppy Cleall had grabbed a second for Saracens on the 10 minute mark as she stripped a Quins player of the ball on the line, but instead she was penalised and the west London side regathered. 

Saracens were in the ascendency in attack with Packer and the Clealls proving a handful, while Zoe Harrison was showing her growing all round talent at fly-half.  

If there were worries that Saracens were spurning too many chances, there was relief when captain Lottie Clapp hit a brilliant line off Harrison and raced under the posts to make it 12-3. 

Harlequins, through the hard carrying of Brown and Cornborough pushed hard to get back into it before the break, but Saracens did just enough to keep them out and then they went one better when their impressive winger Garnet Mackinder made it 17-3 just before halftime. 

But as the clock went deep into extra time before the whistle, Quins came storming back with Brown involved in everything, and Holly Myers went over after a series of quick taps to being them right back into it. 

Quins then made an excellent start to the second half with Brown growing in influence and Jess Breach coming off the bench to make an immediate impact with a try after nine minutes. 

But Saracens hit back almost immediately with Botterman scoring after a brilliant Helena Rowland break. In a tit for tat game, Quins picked the tempo up again and when Debs McCormack barrelled over to make it 24-20 with 2 minutes left it suddenly became anyone's game, especially with Poppy Cleall having been sent to the sin bin for killing the ball on the line. 

It took a desperate tackle from Mackinder to stop Breach from scoring and then it was an assault on the try line from Quins who surely should have scored but for lung busting defence from the north London side and a few unlucky handling errors. 

However Quins never stopped fighting and spoiled two line-outs to make it the nerviest of finishes, but a turnover from player of the match Packer helped seal it for Saracens. 

Saracens women: 15 Nina Vistisen, 14 Garnet Mackinder, 13 Lauren Cattell, 12 Helena Rowland, 11 Lotte Clapp (c), 10 Zoe Harrison, 9 Georgie Gulliver, 1 Hannah Botterman, 2 Kat Evans, 3 Sam Martinez Gion, 4 Sonia Green, 5 Tess Wijmans, 6 Bryony Cleall, 7 Marlie Packer, 8 Poppy Cleall

Replacements: 16 May Campbell, 17 Sarah Barber, 18 Rosie Galligan, 19 Valeria Fedrighi, 20 Ella Wyrwas, 21 Cara Wardle, 22 Emma Uren

Harlequins Ladies: 15 Jess Wooden, 14 Holly Myers, 13 Fiona Pocock, 12 Rachael Burford (c), 11 Natasha Bradshaw, 10 Ellie Green, 9 Leanne Riley; 1 Vickii Cornborough, 2 Davinia Catlin, 3 Chloe Edwards, 4 Abbie Scott, 5 Zoe Saynor, 6 Shaunagh Brown, 7 Deborah McCormack, 8 Fiona Fletcher

Replacements: 16 Tove Viksten, 17 Ashleigh Greenslade, 18 Alex Hardy, 19 Samantha McCarthy, 20 Bobbie Haywood, 21 Jess Breach, 22 Stacey White