Nov 03, 2018
Match Report: Bristol Bears Women 15-32 Saracens Women
Saracens Women produced a spirited performance to earn a bonus point victory over Bristol Bears Women and keep the pressure on Tyrrells Premier 15s leaders Loughborough Lightning.
With several key names missing through injury or international duty, including England players Hannah Botterman and Poppy Cleall, Saracens fielded a reshuffled team for the trip to Bristol.
However, the visitors were buoyed by the return of Zoe Harrison, the England international making her first start of the season and producing the team’s second try of the game in the 21st minute with a cheeky dummy eight metres out.
Sarah McKenna had already got Saracens off the mark in the 13th minute after some great interplay between the forwards and the backs, a theme which continued throughout the game and will have pleased head coach Alex Austerberry.
Bryony Cleall, starting at number eight in place of her twin sister Poppy, who has an ankle injury, went over a few minutes before half time after four phases of pick and go, and a successful conversion meant Saracens were 17-3 up at the break.
Bristol Bears registered their first try of the game eight minutes into the second half after a break down the left wing, but Saracens responded almost immediately. This time it was captain Lotte Clapp who was the beneficiary of some slick hands to the edge after a driving lineout.
Clapp doubled her tally in the 56th minute when May Campbell found her with a superb 15-metre pass following a turnover, and Cleall also grabbed her second try of the game from a scrum on Bristol’s five-metre line in the 63rd minute.
Bristol narrowed the gap with a try in the 70th minute, but some strong defending in the last ten minutes from Saracens secured an important victory.
After eight games, they lie second in the league, four points behind Loughborough, their next opponents on 24th November after the international break.