Saracens Ladies welcomed Bristol to their new home ground, Allianz Park for the opening game of the new Premiership season yesterday. As kick off approached, the dark skies gathered and the storms came in. For almost the entire 80 minutes, the game was played in torrential rain and sleet, which unfortunately had an impact on the flow of the game.
Bristol’s Sasha Acheson looked great in the opening exchanges and made some storming runs. The game was played in the middle half of the pitch as error counts on both side mounted up in terrible conditions. Eventually, Acheson got on the end of some strong inter linking between forwards and a great run by Welsh centre, Rebecca De Fillipo, to barge over from close in. Reed was short with the conversion.
Saracens continued to press to the corners with some great kicking from the excellent Sarah Mckenna. Eventually space was made for Sally Tuson to power her way over against her former club at the stoke of half-time to make it 5-5.
The game continued on a knife edge as both sides attempted to inject some tempo in to the game and make some headway. Bristol’s back row of Molloy and Noel-Smith was lively at the breakdown, however, Saracens met every challenge, in which the returning Maggie Alphonsi was outstanding throughout with her trade mark hits and turnovers. Saracens began to get the upper hand in the set piece made way for a drop goal opportunity in the final play, which was charged down to keep the scores set at 5-5.
Both sides will have fancied their chances at winning the game and while neither side will be overly happy with a draw, both sides will know there was potential in how they attempted to play the game and to build o
Coach Laura Eddie commented “what a great privilege it is to be associated with the stadium and to have the Ladies and the Men’s sides both playing at the same venue is a true testament to the forward thinking approach of Saracens as an organisation. Very few other professional clubs are able to say that they are working this closely with their women’s teams and facilitating the development of the women’s game.”
The next Saracens Ladies fixture to take place at Allianz Park will be on Sunday 20th October against Richmond. Access is free of charge.