Allianz updated provided by RFU, thanks Emily – and awesome images courtesy of Neil Kennedy! With eight of the 10 Allianz Premier 15s sides in action this weekend, here’s a look back at what happened in Round 12.
Bristol Bears 22-12 Sale Sharks
Bristol Bears welcomed Sale Sharks to Shaftesbury Avenue with both sides looking to secure their first wins of the year. Bears fly half Elinor Snowsill hit the first points of the afternoon with a penalty on 15 minutes, but it was the visitors who scored the game’s first try when Katy Daley-McLean took a quick penalty and looped a pass out wide to Lauren Delany who cut back inside to score. The Bears replied shortly after the re-start, when Lucy Burgess peeled off the back of a rolling maul and darted through a gap to edge the Bears back into the lead. Kayleigh Powell followed that up with a 50 metre dash through the Sharks’ defence to score a superb solo try and take the hosts into a 17-5 lead at the break. With 55 minutes on the clock, prop Simi Pam took the ball out wide, broke a tackle and outpaced the chasing defence to score a genuine Try of the Week contender from 60 metres out. Sharks responded immediately through a Vicky Irwin try, but the hosts managed to see out the remaining 10 minutes and secure their first win of 2021 against a spirited Sale Sharks side.
Harlequins 17-20 Loughborough Lightning
The weekend’s featured live-stream clash saw Harlequins take on Loughborough Lightning at Cobham RFC, with the hosts looking to bounce back from their defeat at Sandy Park. Lightning started brightly and broke the deadlock after just five minutes, when Detysha Harper picked a line and darted over from 10 metres out. The visitors then extended their lead when Helena Rowland’s pinpoint pass found Abbie Brown, who flew over in the corner to open up a 12-point gap. Quins responded on 20 minutes through Heather Cowell, who powered past her marker to score in the corner, and then again through Hannah Duffy from a rolling maul. The hosts started the second half as dominantly as they had finished the first, and were rewarded for their efforts when Leanne Riley took a quick tap and go and offloaded to Abbie Ward, who flew over under the posts for Quins’ third. With an hour on the clock, an Emily Scarratt penalty took the score to 17-14 to set up a grand stand finale. The decisive moment came five minutes later, when a textbook Lightning line-out drive saw leading try scorer, Lark Davies, crash over and edge the visitors into a three-point lead. Lightning held out for a memorable win and leapfrog Harlequins into second place in the league.
Worcester Warriors 10-17 Exeter Chiefs
Susie Appleby’s side arrived at Sixways looking to close the gap on the top-four, and got off to a dream start when the in-form Kate Zackary scored her sixth try of the season early on after good work from Linde van der Velden. The Chiefs then extended their lead when Taylor Black’s cross-field kick found Niamh Terry, who crossed to score on her club debut. Warriors sprung into life five minutes later, when a brilliant turn of pace saw Jade Shekells sprint down the wing to score the hosts’ first points of the afternoon and take the half time score to 5-12. With just under 20 minutes to go, Carys Phillips crashed over from a maul to bring the Warriors to within two points, but Garnet Mackinder’s 66th-minute try in the corner saw the Chiefs open up a seven-point lead and hold out to secure a fifth consecutive win in the Allianz Premier 15s.
Saracens 36-10 Gloucester Hartpury
Alex Austerberry made a number of changes to his Saracens side for Gloucester-Hartpury’s visit to the Stonex Stadium, and the league leaders produced an impressive display to extend their lead at the top of the table. With 20 minutes on the clock, Poppy Cleall powered over for Sarries’ first, and her eighth of the season, after good work from Rocky Clark. Returning fly half Zoe Harrison then hit a penalty to give Saracens a 10-0 cushion at the break. Cleall wasted no time in extending the damage early in the second half, crashing over for her second try of the game after good link-up play between Holly Aitchison and Georgia Evans. Sarries extended their lead just three minutes later when Clark dotted down her fourth try of the season. It took the visitors until the 49th minute to register on the score board, when wing Kelly Smith darted around her marker and over the whitewash to take the score to 5-24. Captain Lotte Clapp then crossed in the corner after a powerful drive from the Sarries pack, and that was followed by a Deborah Fleming score after Emma Swords exploited a gap in the Gloucester-Hartpury defence. The visitors had the last word, when Daisy Fahey’s long pass found Millie Wood, who muscled her way over line, but it was Saracens who took maximum points from this one, as the two-times champions opened up a seven-point lead at the top of the Allianz Premier 15s.