Saracens continued their strong start to the defence of their Tyrells Premier 15s title with a win over Richmond while Loughborough Lightning also remain unbeaten after a dramatic win over Gloucester-Hartpury.
Richmond FC 12 – 30 Saracens
Saracens Women made it four wins from four to go back top of the league but they had to come from behind to down Richmond at the Athletic Ground.
Alice Soper inspired the hosts into an early 12-0 lead but the defending champions slowly found their feet to come storming back.
Bryony Cleall went over before the interval and in the second half it was all Saracens while Richmond let their discipline slacken with both Soper and Anna Caplice sent to the sin bin.
Marlie Packer went over first before Vicky Fleetwood put them ahead and Georgie Lingham stretched the lead with a fine solo score.
Poppy Cleall continued her try-scoring form before Packer rounded things off with her second to seal the victory.
Gloucester-Hartpury 40 – 41 Loughborough Lightning
Loughborough Lightning maintained their 100% record but it took a last-gasp penalty try for them to edge Gloucester-Hartpury Women’s RFC in an 81-point thriller in the West Country.
During a back-and-forth rollercoaster in which the lead changed hands on numerous occasions, Bianca Blackburn’s 78th-minute try after a line break looked to have given Gloucester-Hartpury a 40-34 win, only for the hosts to be punished right on their own line and the Lightning awarded a penalty try in the final play.
Loughborough had trailed 28-10 early on – with England international Kelly Smith crossing for two of Gloucester-Hartpury’s tries – but Canadian international DaLeaka Menin barged over on the stroke of half-time to add to Isla Alejandro and Carys Williams’ earlier tries to narrow the deficit to 28-15.
That became 28-27 early in the second half as Loughborough crossed twice more, before Ellie Underwood’s pick-and-go try in the corner – her second of the game – then increased Gloucester-Hartpury’s advantage but Lightning powered over eight minutes from time to lead 34-33 and set up the late drama.
Bristol Bears 41 – 14 Darlington Mowden Park Sharks
Phoebe Murray, Clara Nielson and Lilly Stoeger all scored two tries as Bristol Bears Women strolled to a comfortable 41-14 win against DMP Sharks.
The hosts blasted out of the blocks and had the game sewn up by half time thanks to six tries, with Ellie Mulhearn powering over from five metres out for the first, before Murray got her first, diving over in the corner.
Captain Nielson sprinted down the right and stepped inside to score Bristol’s third before Murray dotted down a grubber kick for a well-made fourth.
Kate Hobson pulled the Sharks back into it but Nielson and Stoeger added further tries for the Bears before the break.
Stoeger notched her second minutes into the second half but the Sharks shored up their defence and added a further try late on through Racheal Woosey.
Wasps 29 – 10 Worcester Valkyries
Wasps secured a third win of the season with a 29-10 victory over Worcester Valkyries. In a first half of few opportunities, England international Amy Wilson Hardy broke the deadlock on 29 minutes when the 27-year-old wormed her way around the backs to dot down and convert.
Worcester broke back through Zoe Bennion just six minutes later, but Wasps furthered their advantage on the stroke of half time when Claudia MacDonald gathered a loose ball to dart down the wing and score.
Wasps made a strong start to the second half when Katie Mason scored, before Abi Dow added to the Valkyries misery eight minutes later from the scrum.
Tova Derk made it 29-5 to claim a bonus point following Mason’s sumptuous offload as Lydia Thompson scored a late consolation try for the visitors.
Harlequins 27 – 6 Firwood Waterloo
A dominant display up front helped Harlequins secure a second victory of the season, beating Firwood Waterloo 27-6 at Surrey Sports Park.
Coming into the fixture on the back of defeat to league leaders Loughborough Lightning, the hosts made a rapid start and were two tries to the good within ten minutes.
Chloe Edwards finished off a rolling maul on three minutes and England back-row Shaunagh Brown, who impressed on international debut in 2017, was the architect of a second on 10 minutes.
Quins maintained their momentum and, after the ball was recycled quickly towards the left wing, Stacey White dotted down to make it 15-0 on the stroke of half-time.
Two well-taken penalties from Bethany Scott kept Waterloo alive after the break, but a close-range Zoe Saynor effort put the home side clear and Chloe Butler also crossed late on.