Dec 10, 2016
Saracens Women edge Worcester Valkyries win
Saracens Women rounded off 2016 with a hard fought victory against Worcester Valkyries at Sixways in round ten of the Women’s Premiership on Sunday.
Tries from Emma Uren, Claire Allan and Zoe Harrison in the first half plus a single score from Nina Vistisen in the second period was enough to secure a win for the visitors. With Saracens sitting fourth in the table and Valkyries a couple of points behind in fifth, the scene was set for a thrilling afternoon as both teams chase the all important top four Premiership play off places.
Nineteen year old Emma Uren was first to get Saracens on the scoreboard after 17 minutes as the ball was moved through the hands of Emily Scott and Claire Allan for the winger to cross in the corner. Emily Scott was involved again soon after as she expertly grubbered the ball through for Allan to dot down. This was Allan’s final contribution as she left the field of play after taking a knock and was replaced by Garnet Mackinder.
Minutes later Valkyries opened their account through Lydia Thompson, as a missed tackle in the midfield sliced open the Sarries defence and the speedy winger ran in from halfway.
Saracens responded through Zoe Harrison as a high ball was bravely plucked out of the air by Uren who turned on the burners down the wing and linked with the fly half to finish. Worcester had the final say of the first half as Lyndsay O’Donnell crashed over from close range after some efficient work from the home side’s pack.
Valkyries came out of the dressing room firing as they launched wave after wave of attack on the women in red. Harrison was shown yellow for not rolling away in the tackle, reducing the visitors to 14 however Worcester could not breach the Sarries line lead superbly by Lauren Newman, Marcella Collins and Player of the Match, Becky Roby.
Centre Nina Vistisen found herself next on the score sheet completely against the run of play with ten minutes remaining, following a trademark break from Garnet Mackinder down the wing to put Vistisen over.
In a dramatic final few minutes, Worcester replied through Rhi Parker as they closed the gap to 7 points but a mistake off the restart gifted Saracens a penalty which Harrison lined up. The kick didn’t have the legs giving Valkyries one last throw of the dice but a crucial steal from captain Sonia Green at the breakdown allowed Bryony Cleall to kick the ball into the stands and secure the all important win for Saracens.
Speaking after the match, head coach Rob Cain said: “We couldn't have asked any more of the players today. Our defensive effort was immense. When we were down to 14 and Worcester were camped on our line, we showed what our season meant to us, lineout after lineout, scrum after scrum, pick and go after pick and go, we creaked a few times but we didn't burst. That 15 minutes were huge, not only in the game but also gave us an opportunity to make the previous weeks in the league count and give us some breathing space in the league table. It’s been a big month for us and the players hard work and learning experiences have been rewarded. It’s now time to rest some tired bodies, get a few more injured players back and refocus for 2017.”
Final Score: Worcester Valkyries 15 Saracens Women 22
Tries: Uren (17); Allan (20); Harrison (33); Vistisen (70)
Cons: Harrison 1/4
Replacements used: Mackinder for Allan (21); Robinson for Collins (66); Peedle for Barras (66); Hamlyn Williams for Roby (72); Blindell for Thomas (75)
Yellow cards: Harrison (49)
Tries: Thompson (22); O’ Donnell (40); Parker (78)