Mar 10, 2018
Sarries edge narrow win at Sharks
Saracens Women returned to winning ways with a 13-5 win away to DMP Sharks on Saturday. Tries from Bryony Cleall and Rosie Galligan plus a late penalty from Helena Rowland proved to be enough to secure the victory and keep Sarries top of the Tyrrells Premier 15s table with two rounds remaining.
Sarries started brightly with the new look back line of Harrison, Rowland and Cattell looking to get some early touches in and test the Sharks defence out wide. It took eleven minutes for Saracens to get their first score on the board kicking to the corner following a penalty for taking Sonia Green out in the air. Bryony Cleall emerged from the pile of bodies as the try scorer at the back of a well executed catch and drive to give Sarries a five point lead.
A spell of indiscipline from the visitors allowed DMP to build the phases and home side were rewarded for their efforts when full back Claudia McDonald got her side off the mark with a superb solo effort, breaking from her own half shrugging off multiple Saracens tacklers to get Sharks on the scoresheet after thirty five minutes.
Sarries looked to have done enough to go in ahead on the stroke of half time, launching a surging maul from 22 metres out and appeared to have burrowed over through Cleall but the Sharks defence had done enough to deny them and keep the scores level going into the break.
Sam Martinez Gion made way for Hannah Botterman at half time and the England prop got quickly stuck in with some powerful carries and line breaks. Scrum half Georgie Gulliver also looked to increase the tempo for her side and injected much needed energy into a Sarries team that were plagued by uncharacteristic errors and an inability to finish multiple opportunities.
It took Sarries until the fifty sixth minute to add to their tally through another solid maul for Rosie Galligan to crash over and edge ahead, with Rowland’s conversion denied by the woodwork. With the departure of Zoe Harrison, the eighteen year old Rowland shifted into fly half and was in the thick of the action shortly after, putting in an ambitious cross field kick which just got away from replacement Cara Wardle over the line. Sarries had another opportunity minutes later when Botterman looked to have bulldozed over from metres out but the Sharks defence stood firm to hold up the prop.
With the game still hung in the balance, Sarries were given the opportunity to put some breathing space between the teams when Rowland slotted a penalty with five minutes left on the clock to take the score to 13-5. The league leaders continued to press but ran out of time to add to their tally leaving an eight point gap and denying the home side a losing bonus point.
Speaking after the match, Rob Cain said: “We were made to work extremely hard for our win today. Full credit to Darlington, they brought physicality both in the tackle and with ball in hand and really closed down our space well. Big effort up front from our catch drive today and work at the breakdown which saw us through with a well deserved win for the players.”
15 Nina Vistisen (Lingham 79’); 14 Emma Uren; 13 Lauren Cattell; 12 Helena Rowland; 11 Lotte Clapp ©; 10 Zoe Harrison (Wardle 60’); 9 Georgie Gulliver (Swords 65’); 1 El Perry (Barber 70’) ; 2 May Campbell; 3 Sam Martinez Gion (Botterman 40’); 4 Sonia Green; 5 Jen Hobson; 6 Rosie Galligan (Wijmans 72’); 7 Kat Evans; 8 Bryony Cleall (Searcy 65’)
Replacements 16 Sarah Barber; 17 Hannah Botterman; 18 Kay Searcy; 19 Tess Wijmans; 20 Emma Swords; 21 Cara Wardle; 22 Georgie Lingham
Scores: Cleall (11); Galligan (56’)
Penalty Rowland (75’)