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Report: Bristol Bears Women 10-36 Saracens Women

The defending champions proved too strong running out 36-10 victors in a bruising encounter at Shaftesbury Park.

What happened?

The visitors came flying out of the blocks from the first whistle and punished Bristol’s ill-discipline as Gregson opened the scoring under the posts following a strong driving lineout from Saracens.

The women in red almost immediately had their second as Packer broke on halfway and ate up the turf in front of her before finding de Goede on the inside to make it 12-0.

Bristol couldn’t halt the Sarries charge and Cleall bagged their third try from short range inside fifteen minutes.

Simi Pam crossed in the first half (via JMPUK)

Bears had to do some soul searching and find something from within if they were to prevent Saracens racking up the scoreboard and they did just that.

With their backs up against the wall the home side managed to up the pressure in defence, which lead to a turn in the tide.

Marston was everywhere throughout the first half putting in bone-crunching tackles to bring down Saracens’ big ball carriers and her teammates soon followed suit, Lillicrap and Mulhearn providing the muscle needed to hit back the visitors.

Twenty minutes into the first half the Bears began to build their first meaningful attack of the game as a sweeping moved across the pitch saw Jaz Joyce race into the Sarries twenty-two.

The following ten minutes saw the Bears exert some attacking pressure of their own with lineout after lineout, continually knocking on the door and five minutes before half-time they had their reward.

A pinpoint throw to the tail from Neilson gave the Bears a prime opportunity to set-up a driving maul, which Pam peeled off the back of and raced through to touch down and bring the Bears back into the game before the break.

Jaz Joyce dazzled in the second period (via JMPUK)

Following the half-time interval, Bristol needed the first score and unfortunately it went the way of Saracens as Packer dotted down from the tail of the lineout.

However, the Bears would not be deterred. A moment of dazzling individual brilliance from Jasmine Joyce saw her break 40 metres up the pitch and deep into Saracens territory. The hosts went through the phases before the ball was spun wide to the winger, who finished the move she started in the corner.

In typical Saracens fashion they manged to immediately swing the momentum back in their favour less than five minutes as Gregson hit a fine line on the inside of Harrison to ghost through the Bears’ defence and dot down.

Saracens would have the final say with an attritional pick and go score finished by Cleall.


Teams & Scorers: 

Bristol Bears Women: 15. Kayleigh Powell, 14. Courtney Keight, 13. Phoebe Murray, 12. Lucie Skuse, 10.Elinor Snowsill, 9. Lucy Burgess; 1. Simi Pam, 2. Clara Nielson, 3. Ellie Mulhearn, 4. Hollie Cunningham, 5. Natalia John, 6. Rownita Marston, 7. Alisha Butchers, 8. Siwan Lillicrap

Impact Players: 16. Alice Lockwood, 17. Holly Phillips, 18. Stef Evans, 19. Manon Johnes, 20. Marlo Boyd, 21. Rhi Parker, 22. Lily Stoeger-Goddard, 23. Lauren Smyth

Scorers: Pam 31' (TRY), Joyce 47' (TRY)

Saracens Women: 15. Chantelle Mielle, 14. Deborah Fleming, 13. Sydney Gregson, 12. Holly Aitchson, 11. Lotte Clapp, 10. Zoe Harrison, 9. Eloise Hayward; 1. Rochelle Clark, 2. May Campbell, 3. Cesley Clifford, 4. Sophie De Goede, 4. Molly Morrissey, 6. Georgia Evans, 7. Marlie Packer, 8. Poppy Cleall

Replacements: 16. Kat Evans, 17. Donna Rose, 18. Alex Zundak, 19. Tamara Taylor, 20. Fi McIntosh, 21. Lisa Martin, 22. Emma Uren, 23. Rachel Laqeretabua

Scorers: Gregson 5', 50' (TRY), Cleall 17', 69' (TRY), de Goede 7' (TRY), Packer 42' (TRY), Harrison 7', 50', 69' (CON)


Key Moment: Marlie Packer

After Pam’s late score in the first period, Bears needed to come out of the blocks in the second half ahead of their opponents.

Unfortunately for Bristol, it would be Saracens who nudged themselves further in-front as Packer crashed over the chalk following a strong driving maul.

Killer blow.


Player of the match: Rownita Marston

Despite the result, it was a much better performance from the Bears squad with many players shining throughout the seventy minutes.

However, one shone brighter than the rest. Rownita Marston was phenomenal all afternoon at Shaftesbury Park and it was clear to see from minute one that she was pumped up and ready for battle.

The bulldozing back rower put in countless thunderous hits in defence as well as eating up the yards with ball in hand, and without doubt she was fully deserving of the Player of the Match accolade.

Freight train.

Fantastic display from Rownita Marston (via Rhodri Williams)

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