Mar 30, 2018
Sarries finish top of Premier 15s table
Saracens Women stormed to a 29-19 victory over Bristol Ladies on Good Friday securing the Tyrrells Premier 15s top spot at the end of the regular season. It was a day for the back row with scores for Poppy Cleall and Marlie Packer plus a hat trick from Bryony Cleall to earn the try bonus and the full five points to push Sarries to the top of the table heading into the semi finals.
Sarries exerted early dominance at the set piece, lead superbly by Player of the Match Sonia Green, driving Bristol back and winning the penalty in the process but it wasn’t needed as Bryony Cleall crashed over for the opening score after six minutes. The second score came again from the dogged work of the Sarries pack as they won a penalty off the scrum. Harrison landing the kick in the corner for the visitors to launch their driving maul which Bristol initially repelled however could not contain Marlie Packer as she bulldozed over from close range. Rowland adding the extras to give Sarries a twelve point lead.
With the wind in their sails, Sarries began to grow in confidence as Harrison spotted the gap to run clear off the Sarries own line into the Bristol half, however the high risk strategy was punished when Sarries failed to clear from five metres out and the home side pounced for Clara Nielson to score with Amber Reed converting.
Sarries backs also got stuck into the action as captain Lotte Clapp showed her pace breaking down the wing only to be dragged down inches short but Bryony Cleall was on hand to finish for her second of the afternoon to give Sarries a 17-7 lead going into the changing rooms at half time.
Prop Sam Martinez Gion was impressive in the tight but also in the loose as she burst down the flank and looked to be in for a score of her own only to be denied by a scrambling Bristol defence but Bryony Cleall popped up again to rumble over for her hat trick and the try bonus point. Twin sister Poppy added her name to the scoresheet when Sarries won a scrum against the head on the Bristol five metre line and buried over to extend the lead to 29-7.
Bristol continued to fight with the centre pairing of Amber Reed and Lagi Tuami combining well and causing issues in the midfield and were rewarded for their efforts when Reed broke the line only to be scragged down short by Clapp but the centre got the offload away for Cat McNaney to score.
It was a dramatic final few minutes as the home side through everything at the London side and with Poppy Cleall sent to the bin, Claire Molloy charged through with a well deserved score after a fine individual display but it was too little too late as Sarries hung on for the 29-19 win and the top spot finish.
Gloucester Hartpury now await as their opponents in the semi finals, with a trip to the Westcountry next Saturday followed by the second leg at Allianz Park on 14th April.
15 Nina Vistisen; 14 Emma Uren (Mackinder 63’); 13 Lauren Cattell; 12 Helena Rowland; 11 Lotte Clapp ©; 10 Zoe Harrison (Wardle 47’); 9 Georgie Gulliver (Swords 58’); 1 El Perry (Fredrickson 68’); 2 Kat Evans (Campbell 68’); 3 Sam Martinez Gion (Botterman 48’); 4 Sonia Green; 5 Tess Wijmans; 6 Bryony Cleall; 7 Marlie Packer (Searcy 58’); 8 Poppy Cleall
Replacements 16 Charlotte Fredrickson; 17 Hannah Botterman; 18 May Campbell; 19 Kay Searcy; 20 Emma Swords; 21 Cara Wardle; 22 Garnet Mackinder
Scores: B Cleall (6’, 32’); Packer (14);
Conversions Rowland x 2
Image - John White