Oct 17, 2016
Sarries Women In Nine Try Wasps Win
Saracens Women put their Premiership campaign back on track with a convincing bonus point win against Wasps Ladies at Twyford Avenue on Saturday. Hat tricks from wingers Seraphine Okemba and Garnet Mackinder along with scores from Zoe Harrison and Kat Evans sealed a dominant display away from home.
Following the disappointment of last weekend’s loss to Worcester Valkyries, Rob Cain’s side will have been keen to come out firing however it was far from the perfect start for the visitors. A mistake from the kick off allowed Wasps full back Rebecca Rowe to pounce and register the opening score after just sixty seconds.
Sarries set piece was much improved from their last outing with Kerrie-Ann Craddock, Kat Evans and Geri Thomas setting the tone and piling on the pressure up front. Wasps found themselves penalised for illegally pulling down the maul but Saracens played the advantage as fly half Zoe Harrison penetrated the defence to score under the posts and then convert her own effort.
Wasps responded immediately as they were awarded a penalty at the breakdown - deft hands from flanker Ashley Perry at the lineout putting Liz Crake over to give the home side the lead.
This would be the only time the visitors would be in front though as Sarries began to crank up the pressure with solid work from the pack giving them front foot ball and allowing their new look backline to spring into life. The midfield partnership of Emily Scott and Claire Allan has started to bubble away nicely with the pair opening up the Wasps defence to unleash the dangerous threats on each wing. Mackinder crossed the whitewash twice in five minutes as the home side were unable to contain her blistering pace.
Not to be outdone by her opposite winger, Okemba showed she’s got speed to burn as she sliced through for her opening score. Her second came courtesy of Allan, with the centre puncturing the Wasps midfield to float the ball out to the right winger, giving the visitors a comfortable 31-10 lead going into the break.
It didn’t take Okemba long to complete her hat trick as immediate pressure from flanker Lauren Newman at the restart forced the turnover and quick thinking allowed the ball to be recycled wide for the French flyer to dot down in the corner.
Eighteen year old Zoe Harrison continued to impress with ball in hand as she threw the dummy and ran in from half way to go over for her team’s seventh of the afternoon.
Saracens didn’t have it all their own way however as prop Kerrie-Ann Craddock was shown yellow for offside after 60 minutes but Wasps were unable to capitalise on the extra player advantage. Instead Sarries continued to press with Mackinder bursting out of her own half to mark her hat trick and eighth try in five matches.
Wasps continued to fight and strong carries from centres Hannah Edwards and Sarah Mitchelson gave them valuable yards, testing the Sarries defence. Replacement Bryony Cleall was sent to the bin and Wasps were this time able to make the overlap count as they stretched wide for substitute Jay Sime to go over in the corner.
It was the visitors who would have the final say as hooker Evans got on the end of a Mackinder break for Sarries ninth of the afternoon and rounding off an emphatic 55-15 victory.
Player of the Match, Claire Allan was happy with her team’s performance - “The girls really stepped up today. Last week was a bit disappointing so we really took it to them, our defence was spot on and I couldn’t have asked for any more from the girls.’”
Speaking after the game, head coach Rob Cain said: “This was a great response from our previous performance. There are parts of game we still need to fine tune but today was all about performance not perfection. Our work rate in defence was outstanding and our set piece work and ability to put the ball in the right areas of the pitch at the right time created opportunities that we finished extremely well. I am so pleased for the players - they work incredibly hard each week, with new players and combinations things don’t fall into place over night and today started to show that all their hard work is paying off.
“We had two sin bins but still kept scoring points and put Wasps under immense pressure all game. Our set piece functioned much better and the front five put in a big shift with all their carries and tackle counts. Lauren Newman’s work rate was outstanding. Zoe and Emily played rugby where we needed too and Claire Allan is beginning to really find her feet for us at thirteen and she was central to our success today. Seraphine and Garnet finished really well and each week they keep improving, in particular their defence which was accurate and very physical today. Our ever present skipper Sonia Green continued to show everyone the way with a true captain’s performance with her ball carrying and tackling.
“We proved again today how dangerous we can be and that we can score tries but for me it’s the way we are scoring. The work that’s going on before we dot down is getting better and better each week and allowing even more players to become threats. This week has really highlighted that we have a group who aren’t afraid of challenges and this desire will only grow bigger as our game does through the season.”
Tries: Harrison (12, 45); Mackinder (18, 23, 60); Okemba (25, 30, 42)
Cons: Harrison 4/8, Scott 1/1
Replacements used: Barras for Vistisen (60); Fredrickson for Collins (65); Robinson for Newman (66); Cleall for Roby (68); Peedle for Harrison (73)
Yellow card: Craddock (60); Cleall (72)
Tries: Rowe (1); Crake (15); Sime (74)
Cons: Edwards 0/3