Sep 06, 2014
Hat-Trick Hero Strettle snatches win
A last gasp David Strettle winning try a minute from time saw Saracens run out 34-28 winners over Wasps in a pulsating game at Twickenham Stadium.
Strettle who scored a hat-trick of tries in a man of the match performance collected Duncan Taylor’s pass to finish expertly in the left hand corner to send the Saracens faithful into raptures.
With Wasps on the attack in Saracens 22-metre zone with just two minutes to play leading by a solitary point, Dai Young’s side were penalised at the breakdown. From the penalty Ben Spencer found a great touch finder to take Saracens to the halfway line and from the resulting lineout a well-executed midfield move orchestrated by Owen Farrell and Brad Barritt saw the ball reach Duncan Taylor who after moving to right wing came off the right hand touchline to scythe through the Wasps midfield. After moving through the gears Taylor was eventually upended. Saracens quickly recycled the ball and replacement scrum-half Ben Spencer found the deadly Strettle who finished with aplomb in the left hand corner, scoring Saracens fourth try of the day to win the game.
In the first-half Saracens ran out to a 20-9 lead, as scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth expertly marshalled his team around the field from scrum-half alongside Charlie Hodgson at fly-half. It was Hodgson who would unlock the Wasps defence with a deft grubber for winger Chris Ashton who pounced before Wasps debutant full-back Rob Miller to cross for the games first try. Hodgson converted to give Saracens a seven nil lead.
Moments after Ashton’s opener Saracens were reduced to 14-men when blindside flanker Kelly Brown was yellow carded for a cynically knocking the ball from Wasps scrum-half Joe Simpson’s hands. From the resulting penalty ex-Sarrie Andy Goode sent over the penalty goal to reduce Mark McCall’s side lead to four points.
Charlie Hodgson responded with two quick fire penalties to extend Saracens lead to 13-6 after 20 minutes before winger David Strettle crossed for his first try of the game.
After turning over the ball in Saracens half, Wasps were immediately pinned back into their own territory from an expert Richard Wigglesworth clearance. Strettle hunted the bouncing ball and after Wasps' Rob Miller failed to collect the Saracens flyer hacked on the ball to collect and score. Hodgson converted as Saracens went into the break 20-9 after Andy Goode slotted another penalty.
Wasps returned from the Twickenham sheds much better than their north London counterparts and raced into a 20-21 lead after two quick fire tries from No.8 Nathan Hughes and the diminutive Christian Wade who did well the squeeze the ball down in the left hand corner in what was the High Wycombe sides second try of the game. Saracens need to respond, but it was Wasps who would extend their lead when Wade raced in for his second after he collected Ashley Johnson’s grubbber kick to score.
Wasps were now leading 20-28, and with England fly-half Owen Farrell now on the pitch Saracens were staring down the barrel of an opening day defeat.
Saracens though continued to press and they were duly awarded when Farrell found Strettle on the left wing with a bullet pass, showing great vision to find the Warrington born winger amongst a sea of bodies to send him in to score his second. Farrell converted expertly to make it a one point ball game.
With the clock ticking Saracens had the chance, albeit a hugely slim one, of taking the lead when Farrell lined up a monster penalty attempt from the halfway line, but the effort drifted agonisingly wide as Wasps looked to hang on for victory.
As Dai Young’s charges marched up the pitch with minutes to the likelihood of a Saracens win continued to fade, only for Taylor and Strettle to combine to snatch a famous from the jaws of defeat at Twickenham .