Worcester and Richmond remain unbeaten after the latest round of the English women's Premiership. There were 26 tries scored in the five games. Image: Kat Merchant, right, was on the scoresheet for Worcester. Pic thanks to Rugby Matters
Richmond 61 Bristol 0
Playing their first game at home for the season, table-toppers Richmond were looking to continue their fine unbeaten run.
The home team picked up on their excellent form of a week ago and were out of the blocks quickly scoring an early try out wide via outsdie centre Jo O'Sullivan, which was swiftly followed up by try from number 8 Becky Essex after several linking phases of play between the pack which started at the half way line. Abi Chamberlain converted to give the home team an early 12-0 lead.
Bristol however came back strongly, lifted their game, and really put in a strong challenge at the breakdown, which resulted in a good line break into the Richmond 22 by the Bristol inside centre Nic Hoole and supported by the openside flanker Marlie Packer.
Close to half time, Richmond scrum half Amy Turner supported another O'Sullivan line break, just managing to hold onto the support pass and keep her feet to score under the posts. Chamberlain successfully converted to give the home team a 19-0 lead at half time.
In the second half, Richmond came out firing , and with an increase in tempo and tenacity at the contact area, the resulting quick ball enabled the backline to be released. Winger and player of the match Fran Matthews carved through the wide channel from turn over ball and ran 60 metres to score the first of three individually well worked tries. Richmond made several changes with skipper Amy Turner moving to hooker and in came new face Lauren Daly into the second row which provided further impetus. Chamberlain scored a try which was followed by two from scrum half Fi Davidson who kept up her try scoring record now totalling 6 from the previous three league matches. Bristol again came back and provided a strong fight in the set piece with Catherine Spence stabilising the base, but the Richmond defence held solid and againt the backline capitalised on the quality of ball provided which resulted in a final try from winger Kay Wilson.
Richmond scorers : Jo O'Sullivan, Becky Essex, Amy Turner, Abi Chamberlain, Kay Wilson (try each) Fran Mathews x 3, Fi Davidson x 2. Abi Chamberlain - 3 cons.
Worcester 22 DMP Sharks 8
Worcester continued their excellent start to season, extending their unbeaten run to five games with victory over a determined Sharks team.
Worcester started the game powerfully with Rocky Clarke, Laura Keates and Karen Jones dominating the forward exchanges. The Worcester skipper, Karen Jones, had another excellent game, leading by example. Sharks had the misfortune to lose Tamara Taylor with a serious wrist injury in the 6th minute.
After several patient phases the backs eventually released Kat Merchant to open Worcesters account with a typical burst of pace and aggression which took her past three defenders to score in the corner. Worcester 5 Sharks 0
Sharks came back with some good possession play and following some poor discipline from Worcester, Katy McLean gratefully accepted the penalty.
A good run from Sarah Guest was halted by a high tackle and Ceri Large took the opportunity to increase Worcesters lead
Worcester then recovered their composure and increased their lead with dazzling run through the middle of the field by Nollie Waterman, scoring a great try.
The second half began in similar vein to the first, with Worcester dominating the exchanges resulting in a great individual try from replacement Sam Bree, who picked up the ball in her own half and beat several defenders to score under the posts. Once again Large added the extras. .
Worcester appeared to be cruising at this stage and really should have added to their lead on at least three occasions, but some uncharacteristic poor handling and decision making at the crucial moments let them down. This despite some dynamic play from Lisa Campbell who had a fine game at 12.
The home side made some changes and appeared to take their foot off the pedal which allowed the boot of Katy McLean to pin Worcester in their own 22 for ten minutes, this pressure being duly rewarded with a try in the corner from Sharks most effective player, winger Jenny Edwards.
Scorers Worcester: Kat Merchant, Nollie Waterman, Sam Bree (try each), Ceri Large, pen & 2 cons
Scorers Sharks: Jenny Edwards, try, Katy McLean, 1 con
Lichfield 14 Saracens 10
An incredibly tight affair in North London saw Lichfield edge Saracens 14-10 in a physcial and defensively orientated game. It was a historic win for Lichfield as it was the first time they had ever beaten Saraens on home soil in their 18-year history.
Lichfield started well maintaining possession in a game, that despite the wet weather, saw a relatively error free game of rugby. Saracens season's injury worries continued as prop Kerrie Anne- Craddock who had been called up to the 1st team for injured Canadian international Leslie Cripps, was replaced after just five minutes for coach Claire Frost who saw herself injured and replaced at half time for back rower Sonia Green who scrummed impressively in her new position.
Lichfield got the first clear breakthrough following a great break from the powerful Lichfield winger Vicky Jackson who stormed in to the Saracens 22m area, a great tackle by the slight figure of fullback Cheryl Thompson brought the dominant Jackson down, however a classy offload to the rampaging Emilly Scarrett, saw her stretch over the line to make the score 5-0. Scarrett converted her own score from infront of the posts.
The game remained 7-0 until the 51 minute mark where the Lichfield forwards found some space and mauraded through to the Saracens line and second Row Emily Braund with her first try for the team, touching down well to take it to 10-0. Scarrett converted.
Saracens came back well, and began to dominate posession and territory and sieged the Lichfield line. Eventually from a scrum, winger Hannah Gallagher who had moved to centre following another Saracens injury to Captain Sarah Ulma, dumied, brused off a few stretched tackles and raced over from 22m out for a well worked individual finish. Conversion missed.
It was a tense final 20 minutes, Lichfield's defensive effort was outstanding, keeping Saracens at bay. Well marshalled and maintaining their discipline, they remained unpregnable. Evenutally after over twenty phases of offensive play, pressure told and Saracens went over from continuious pick and drives, scrum half April Brown emerging the scorer.The conversion was missed, but it was too late as the referee blew his final whistle.
Two good defensive teams were on display controlling the creativity of both sides and Lichfield will be pleased with this hard fought victory. Saracens lost out by a few points yet again and injuries will be a real concern for the team.
Scorers Lichfield: Emily Scarratt, try, 2 cons; Emily Braund, try.
Scorers Saracens: Hannah Gallagher, try; April Brown, try.
Wasps 50 Old Abanians 0
The old adage that this was a game of two halves certainly rang true in this clash as the away side, still searching for their first win in this league, applied all the early pressure but couldn't cope with the pace of the home side in the later exchanges.
Saints got off to a good start with excellent retrieval from the drop kick start and some well timed pick and drives saw them camped by the try line for the first few minutes of the game. A great turnover and some poor discipline, however, saw Wasps move further down the field and after some sustained pressure from 1-15 it was Wasps who put the first try on the board.
Wasps were 14-0 up at half time - with tries for Oli Poore and Natasha Brennan alongside conversions from Shelley Rae.
The second half was a different game though as Wasps upped the ante and capitalised on almost every mistake made my the visiting side. Quick tries from England lock Jo McGilChrist, Deena Aiken and Shelley Rae put plenty of distance between the sides as Aiken and Claire Purdy caught the eye up front with some good passages.
The second half saw the Saints tire and Wasps linking play click. There were many strong runs from Deena, the formidable prop partnership, and Jo McGilchrist, particularly from the base of the scrum. This provided a platform to play quick ball suiting Wasps which resulted in a 50-0 win. Old Albanians struggled to get any possession as the game wore on, on the backfoot for much of the remainder and Wasps made the most of their dominance with a spate of tries from Sarah Mitchelson, Purdy and Brennan.
The win will delight the Wasps coaches who are seeing their team come to life after a sluggish start while Saints will hope that their injury list subsides so they can push for their first Premiership win.
Scorers Wasps: Natasha Brennan, two tries; Claire Purdy, try; Sarah Mitchelson, try; Olivia Poore, try; Deena Aiken, try; Jo McGilChrist try; Shelley Rae, try, 5 cons