Sep 10, 2016
Saracens Women sweep aside Sharks in nine try Premiership opener
Garnet Mackinder bagged a hat trick on her Premiership debut as Saracens Women demolished DMP Sharks to secure a bonus point win at Allianz Park.
Further tries from Nina Vistisen, Laura Dowsett plus a penalty try helped last season’s Premiership finalists to a convincing 57-0 win getting their league campaign off to a flying start.
DMP Sharks enjoyed a good spell of possession in the early exchanges with solid work from their forward pack earning them a number of penalties and pinning Sarries in their own half. The northern outfit were however unable to capitalise and as the clock ticked on, the home side began to grow in confidence. It took 13 minutes for debutant Mackinder to open her Saracens account linking up with fullback Charlotte Barras for the first score. A loose kick over the top from DMP was gathered by the winger who spotted Barras outside her as the fullback showed her class and experience to move the defence and put Mackinder through the gap.
Young props El Perry and Mica Evans stepped up to the plate upfront as Saracens turned over a DMP scrum on the 5 metre line which was eventually deemed to have been dragged down; the referee immediately signalling under the posts for the penalty try.
Centre Seraphine Okemba was next to get on the scoresheet as she touched down for her first of three tries. Capitalising on another scrum turnover Sarries moved the ball wide and the French flyer demonstrated her power and pace to brush aside the defence. Despite a yellow card for newcomer Charlotte Fredrickson, Saracens showed no sign of slowing down as Okemba crossed for her second. A strong carry and slick offload from hooker Geri Thomas putting the centre away to take the score to 28-0 at the break.
The hosts came out firing picking up from where they left off. Mackinder adding to her tally with a well worked try in the corner - the wingers and fly half combining with a series of quick offloads for the newcomer to dive over. Sarries continued to up the tempo showing their offloading game could prove to be a dangerous weapon this season as the backrow partnership of Lauren Newman and skipper Sonia Green kept the ball alive for Vistisen to score.
Cain rang the changes in the final quarter introducing replacement hooker Kat Evans making her return from injury after four years out and handing debuts to Lucie Wood and Chrissy Sicwoza.
DMP continued to fight throughout and strong carries from Ruth Nash and Juliet Short allowed the away side to build the phases. Despite a period of possession within the Sarries 22 metres they were unable to break down the resolute defence, lead superbly by flanker Becky Roby who was later named ‘Player of the Match’ for her bone crunching tackles and efforts at the breakdown.
Mackinder sealed her debut hat trick in fine form; a loose pass sniffed out by Saracens with the winger charging through to score.
Not to be outdone in the scoring stakes, Okemba put the burners on to break down the line for her third of the day, calling time on a superb opening performance by the home team.
Rob Cain will be encouraged by his team’s dominant display. Speaking after the game he said: “This is a great start to our new campaign and with this being our first game we knew it would take us some time to settle and it wasn't a case of us starting slowly as we have been guilty of previously it was just a case of new players and combinations getting comfortable and taking time to bed in.”
“Full credit to DMP Sharks - they put us under real sustained pressure throughout the game but the girls dug deep and kept their patience when they were without the ball and eventually forced the unforced error or turnover.”
“There were some great performances from the players individually and all the hard work and focus areas of pre season began to show through in patches. We still have a long way to go but everyone can be proud of their first shift back this season. We didn't expect perfection and we have things that we need to sharpen up on for next week but there was so much energy and work rate in the group’s performance and this allowed us to create so many try scoring opportunities with some great finishing from the all the backs. The two hat tricks show we can score if we create enough opportunities.”
“Each week our aim is to build and I am excited knowing how much room for growth there is within the group.”
Saracens Women 57 – DMP Sharks 0
Tries: Mackinder (13, 41, 67); Okemba (23, 36, 80); Vistisen (47); Dowsett (61); penalty try
Cons: Vistisen 6/9
Replacements used: Woods for Newman (57); K.Evans for M.Evans (58); Gattlin for Fredrickson (41); Sicwoza for Barras (70)
Yellow card: Fredrickson (33)
Player of the Match: Becky Roby