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Report: Saracens Women 17-12 Bristol Bears Women

Bristol Bears Women slipped to a first defeat of the Allianz 15s season, going down narrowly to Saracens in a spirited display at StoneX Stadium.

What happened?

After soaking up a spell of attacking pressure early on, it was Bears who struck first when Jenny Hesketh finished off a powerful attack. 

The winger dotted down following sublime breaks from international duo Abbie Ward and Sarah Bern on the quarter hour mark. But Saracens made their pressure pay when the hosts were awarded a penalty try after a well-worked driving line out. Bears lost Alisha Butchers to the sin-bin in the same play, but - despite the numerical disadvantage - Ward's side held on thanks to a stubborn defensive display. 

Saracens went close when Poppy Cleall was held up over the chalk, but the game remained tightly poised at 7-5 at the interval.

Camped within their own half for much of the second half, Bears kept Saracens at bay with a series of impressive defensive sets. Then, after a flowing counter from inside the 22, Courtney Keight saw her pass illegally obstructed by Zoe Harrison, who was promptly sent to the sin-bin.

But the visitors couldn't take advantage and, after squandering territory deep inside Saracens' half, Ella Wyrwas dotted down from her chip ahead to extend the home side's lead to 14-5.

Bristol went close soon after, only for Marlie Packer to force a crucial turnover just five metres from the try-line. In a tightly-contested final twenty minutes, Ella Lovibond went over for a stunning team try after Alisha Butcher's scything break to reduce arrears to just two points. 

Zoe Harrison's late penalty goal stretched Saracens' advantage and proved to be enough to condemn Bears to a first defeat of the campaign. 


TEAMS:

 

Saracens Women: 15. Chantelle Miell; 14. Rachel Laqeretabua, 13. Holly Aitchison, 12. Hannah Casey, 11. Alysha Corrigan; 10. Zoe Harrison, 9. Ella Wyrwas; 1. Hannah Botterman, 2. May Campbell, 3. Kelsey Clifford, 4. Fiona McIntosh, 5. Poppy Cleall, 6. Georgia Evans, 7. Vicky Fleetwood, 8. Marlie Packer (c).

Replacements: 16. Kat Evans, 17. Rocky Clark, 18. Donna Rose, 19. Sonia Green, 20. Sarah Bebbington, 21. Jodie Rettie, 22. Carly Waters, 23. Coreen Grant 

Bristol Bears Women: 15. Ella Lovibond; 14. Jenny Hesketh, 13. Phoebe Murray, 12. Amber Reed (co-capt), 11. Courtney Keight; 10. Elinor Snowsill, 9. Leanne Infante; 1. Simi Pam, 2. Hannah West, 3. Sarah Bern, 4. Talia John, 5. Abbie Ward (co-capt), 6. Alisha Butchers, 7. Manon Johnes, 8. Rownita Marston.

System players: 16. Holly Phillips, 17. China Kill, 18. Ellie Mulhearn, 19. Hollie Cunningham, 20. Siwan Lillicrap, 21. Keira Bevan, 22. Lucie Skuse, 23. Meg Webb.



Play of the match: Jenny Hesketh


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