On a sunny afternoon at Allianz Park, Saracens just edged out this tight contest vs Worcester Ladies who travelled there on Sunday to face the undefeated league leaders.
In an end-to-end spectacle with some interesting decisions, Saracens took the lead on from a well worked catch and drive from a lineout and Poppy Cleall pushed over. The home side struck again through their strong forward pack to produce an identical score from the driving maul, this time captain Maggie Alphonsi on the end of it. Full back Lauren Cattell added the conversion to take the score to 12-0 in the first quarter.
The visitors struck back on the half hour mark, scoring against the run of play through a quick break from a penalty with a strong finish from Bianca Blackburn to make it 12-5.
Speedy Saracens winger, Zira Handley tried to turn the corner before half time however was cut down by the equally pacey, Lydia Thompson in a try saving tackle. The home side had the opportunity to extend their lead after being awarded a penalty, however Cattell pushed it wide leaving the score 12-5. The rest of the first half saw Worcester grow in stature, with three possible scores not given, so there were high expectations for the second half and a possible upset.
Saracens started the second half brightly with Cattell dotting down at 44 minutes, however the try was deemed to be held up so disallowed. Not to be rattled, the home side regrouped and responded with a quick score within a minute by new recruit, Loz Morton pouncing on the loose ball to make it 17-5. Worcester immediately struck back with excellent work from their forward pack, lead by England internationals Clarke and Keates which allowed the tighthead Keates to cross the line and narrow the gap as Megan Goddard added the extras 17-12.
In a physical game, both packs fought hard to win the advantage at the breakdown. Second row, Heather Stammers was rewarded for her efforts in the tight through another well worked forward move to make it 22-12.
Worcester felt they had reduced the deficit further on 70 minutes; Ceri Large delayed a superb pass for Kelly Smith to run 20 meters and dive over the line, however the try was deemed to be held up. Many teams would have lost heart, but the visitors continued to apply pressure which was rewarded with a barnstorming try from Rochelle Clark in the final minute ending the game 22-17 to Saracens.
Worcester would not have expected to be leaving feeling disappointed at only gaining a losing bonus point however Kat Merchant’s squad will be left wondering what might have been and we can all look forward to another battle in the return leg.
|19/10/2014||1:00 pm||Women's Premiership||2014-15|