Games between these local rivals are always hard fought exciting encounters, this game was no exception and proved to be just as entertaining as the opening fixture of the season at Sixways, but with a more positive outcome for Worcester.
Worcester’s approach to this game was a revelation after the defeat at the hands of DMP last week. They announced their intent to attack from the kick off, the forwards building a platform for Ceri Large and Steph Johnston to link well, Johnson finishing the excellent move with a try in the corner after just 3 minutes.
Lichfield were also in attacking mood and Sarah Nicolas reduced the deficit with a penalty on 9 minutes after 5 minutes of pressure forced the visitors into errors.
Worcester bounced back and more fluent rugby resulted in Kelly Smith increasing the lead.
The game was being played at a tremendous pace, both sides showing determination and passion, but a back row mistake at a 5m scrummage gifted Mo Hunt a try on 29 minutes which Sarah Nicolas converted to make the game all square.
The teams were taking it in turns to score and Worcester maintained the pattern, restoring their lead with a further Kelly Smith try to close a breath taking half at 10 -15.
Whilst Worcester had looked the more accomplished team, errors had allowed the home side back into the game after each score, but after the break the very impressive Ceri Large broke the pattern to increase their lead, with Megan Goddard, who had a difficult afternoon with the boot, taking the extras.
Lichfield refused to capitulate and fought back with a barnstorming forwards try form Amy Cokayne and with Sarah Nicholas taking the extras, the game still appeared evenly balanced from a score perspective at 17 -22 after 52 minutes.
The visitors then finally took control of the game scoring three tries in the final quarter, Lisa Campbell, the hard working Bianca Blackburn and Laura Keates all crossing the line with Ceri Large adding one conversion to put the game beyond the home sides reach. However, Lichfield did add to their score in final flourish, Nancy Stone crossing the line on 79 minutes.
The winning bonus point secured Worcester’s third place finish in the premiership, an excellent conclusion to a season of mixed fortunes that started very indifferently as they struggled to win games at home. The introduction of Kat Merchant as backs coach clearly had a profound effect on the progressive development of the team. Whilst experienced players Tracy Balmer, Rochelle Clark and Steph Johnston had excellent games, the half back pair of Blackburn and Goddard continued to impress and with Large relishing her new role in the centre ably supported by the hard working back of the game, Zoe Bennion, Worcester are building a formidable team. The young players introduced to the team have gained valuable premiership experience under Merchant with Kelly Smith, Rachael Lund, Abi Porteous, Benedicte Williams, Sammy Parker, Abi Walker and Rebecca Trist growing in stature as the season has progressed. Having played the majority of the season without Lydia Thompson, Samantha Bree and Naomi Henry due to cruel injuries, Worcester’s future looks bright providing they can retain the present players for next season.
|18/01/2015||2:00 pm||Women's Premiership||2014-15|