January 17, 2016
Richmond Win Women’s Premiership Rugby Title Over Saracens Women
Photo: Richmond Women’s Rugby
Today was an historic 28-17 win for the Richmond Women over the Saracens Women in the Women’s Premiership Rugby Championship. Richmond entered the match topping the Standings over the second place Saracens, but the teams split the series. For the last nine of ten years, one of these teams has won the title.
This match is an historic one, as for the first time in Women’s Premiership history, it was broadcast live by Sky Sports. The match was held at a neutral site, the Stoop, home of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Harlequins.
From the onset of the match Richmond was on fire. It took only four minutes before Richmond’s Emma Croker scored a try off a driving maul. The conversion was wide.
Richmond forwards were a dominant force today, especially in the scrums. In the effort to defend, Saracens Loosehead prop, Karlee Walters was issue a yellow card for repeat infringements. One minute later Richmond Captain and Flyhalf Jackie Shiels increased the lead to 10-0. (10′)
Shortly later, the Saracens had their first opportunity to score. Lotte Clap, a wing, had a long break. A maul soon ensued and Sonia Green was held up in goal. A five meter scrum gave the Saracens another opportunity, but Richmond’s scrum forced a turnover. The Saracens also had a penalty kick go wide.
The Saracens fortunes were about to change briefly as Jackie Shields was issued a yellow card. A few minutes later the Saracens were able to capitalize off a break by Georgie Gulliver that resulted in a try by Lauren Cattrell.
With five minutes remaining, Richmond would answer back as #8 Anna Caplice, on a pick and go, touched down for a try. The conversion was wide and Richmond was up 15-5.
It looked like that would be the halftime score, but Holly Myers intercepted a Lauren Cattrell pass. Abi Chamberlain converted and at halftime it was Richmond 22 Saracens 5.
Both teams began the second half attempting to spread the play. An early half break by Saracens Lauren Cattrell was thwarted by a knock on. Mistakes like these would prove to be costly for the Saracens during the match, as they many squandered attack opportunities.
The Saracens were much improved on defense during the second half. The seesaw second half finally had it’s first try by Saracens Lauren Cattrell and narrowed the score to 22-10 in favor of Richmond. (57′)
The Saracens really needed to score again, but a penalty to Richmond resulted in a Abi Chamberlain penalty kick. (Richmond 28-10, 61′) Another penalty kick by Chamberlain increased the lead to 28-10 before the Saracens Hannah Gallagher scored a try that was converted. (80′)
In the end the title was won by the Richmond Women 28-17 over the Saracens Women. It was an exciting match and hopefully this results in greater broadcast exposure of Women’s rugby.
In other Women’s Premiership Rugby playoff matches, Lichfield Ladies beat the Worcester Ladies 22-7 for third place. Bristol Ladies won against the Darlington Mowden Sharks in the Shield Final 24-7. Finally, in the relegation playoff (7/8th), the Wasps Ladies shutout the Aylesford Bulls Ladies 37-0.