Dec 09, 2017
Rowland leads battle over Waterloo
Saracens Women continued their unbeaten streak in the Tyrrells Premier 15s with a convincing 45-6 win over Firwood Waterloo Ladies at Allianz Park on Saturday. Scores for Zoe Harrison, Georgie Lingham, Rosie Galligan, Poppy Cleall and Hannah Botterman plus twenty points from Helena Rowland kept Rob Cain’s side top of the table after ten rounds.
It was a scrappy first half for the league leaders as uncharacteristic handling errors and a mounting penalty count stunted any flow for the Sarries attack against a dogged Waterloo defence. It took the home side five minutes to get over the whitewash as the ball was spilled forward by Waterloo and Sarries pounced with Rowland winning the footrace to dot down. The centre then converting her own effort.
Harrison showed slick footwork to dance through several Waterloo defenders in a strong solo effort after fifteen minutes and eighteen year old Rowland added the two points to extend the lead to 14-0.
Waterloo were tenacious in both attack and defence with no.8 Sarah Beckett and full back Laura Perrin leading the charge. The visitors were rewarded for their efforts as fly-half Bethany Stott got her team on the scoreboard when Sarries were penalised at the breakdown and Stott stepped up for the kick. She added to her tally on the half hour mark when Harriet Austin was a shown yellow card for not releasing in the tackle to reduce the deficit to just 8 points.
Despite being down to 14 players, Sarries struck next as Bryony Cleall sliced through the line to offload to Rowland for her second score and third conversion to give the home side a 21-6 lead at half time.
A raft of substitutions after the break seemed to revitalise Sarries with Georgie Gulliver adding tempo allowing big ball carriers Poppy Cleall and Hannah Botterman to get in on the action. Good support play from the Cleall sisters sucked in the Waterloo defence to allow substitute winger Georgie Lingham to cross in the corner.
The home side got their bonus point try through an unstoppable driving maul, a weapon which is proving to key in the Sarries armoury, with second row Rosie Galligan claiming the points. In the final ten minutes the Women in Black ramped up the pressure to cross for another two scores though their replacements. Poppy Cleall burrowed over from the back of a dominant maul, Hannah Botterman crashed over from close range and Player of the Match Helena Rowland added successful conversions to take the final score to 45-6 with Sarries retaining their clean sheet in the Premier 15s.
Speaking after the game, Rob Cain said: “It wasn’t always pretty but to come away with a bonus point win shows how much effort went into the performance. Waterloo were physical and our inability to have consistent tempo and accuracy for the first half allowed them to show how good they are with repeated collison wins. The second half was much better with more go forward alongside better decision making to pull away from them. It was great to see Helena step up again today and her twenty point haul was impressive. Our energisers did a great job and were a big reason we managed to create so much distance between us and the opposition. We will reflect, learn and aspire to be more consistent next week.”
15 Lotte Clapp © ;14 Eloise Bloomfield (Lingham 47’); 13 Nina Vistisen; 12 Helena Rowland; 11 Lauren Newman; 10 Zoe Harrison; 9 April Brown (Gulliver 54); 1 El Perry (Fredrickson 50’) ; 2 Kat Evans (Cooper-Wall 57’); 3 Sam Martinez Gion (Botterman 50’); 4 Rosie Galligan; 5 Sonia Green (Fedrighi 61’); 6 Harriet Austin; 7 Marlie Packer (P Cleall 57’); 8 Bryony Cleall
Replacements 16 Scarlett Cooper-Wall; 17 Charlotte Fredrickson; 18 Hannah Botterman; 19 Valeria Fedrigi; 20 Poppy Cleall; 21 Georgie Gulliver; 22 Georgie Lingham
Scores Tries Rowland (5’,37’); Harrison (16’); Lingham (62’); Galligan (67’); P Cleall (71’); Botterman (76’)
Cons Rowland 5/7
Yellow Card Harriet Austin