MATCH REPORT: Loughborough Lightning 29-38 Saracens Women
Sophie De Goede starred as Saracens Women secured top spot in the penultimate round of the Allianz Premier 15s with an impressive win over Loughborough.
Bryony Field opened the scoring for Loughborough before Rocky Clark, Georgie Lingham and Emma Taylor put Saracens ahead to end a tightly contested first half.
In the second period, Field completed her hat-trick and Fran Goldthorp touched down but Saracens scored through Rachel Laqeretabua and De Goede twice who also kicked three out of a possible five conversions.
Loughborough started aggressively and won an early penalty which they kicked to the corner before scoring from the resulting lineout drive through Field.
The try was converted, and was followed by a period of sustained pressure on the Sarries defensive line.
However, Saracens won a five-metre lineout of their own and took full advantage as Clark spotted a gap after the lineout drive was rebuffed.
Sophie De Goede kicked an excellent conversion and Saracens were ahead minutes later after a superb flat pass from the returning Gregson found Lingham who stepped a defender and crossed the whitewash.
Alex Austerberry’s side then gave themselves some breathing room through Emma Taylor, whose pick and go seemed unstoppable from five metres out.
De Goede could not complete what would have been a mesmerising hat-trick of conversions as her attempt drifted wide to end the half at 19-7.
The second half started badly, as Loughborough picked several good support lines to move into the Sarries half.
However, out of nowhere, De Goede intercepted a pass between scrum-half and first receiver before showing lightning speed to run the length of the pitch and score before converting her own try.
Loughborough would not go down easily, and just moments later Field scored her second try of the day from the back of a lineout drive.
An eventful afternoon for De Goede continued as she was shown a yellow card following five minutes of impressive Loughborough possession.
Field completed her hat-trick from another lineout drive as Loughborough cut the deficit to two points with 2o minutes remaining.
De Goede then returned to the pitch, picked up the ball from the base of a scrum and powered through three women to score.
However, Saracens did not remain in control for long as Goldthorp handed off one defender before scoring to keep the deficit inside five points.
Rachel Laqeretabua then scored to extend the Women in Black’s lead to nine points, showing great strength to finish in the corner.