A hard day in the office for Bristol Ladies today, who fell to a 5 – 35 defeat at the hands of reigning champions Saracens.
Both teams entered into this fixture knowing that whoever came out on top would finish the day 2nd in the table and in a great place running into the playoffs in January.
Both teams looked dangerous when they had the ball, making breaks, turnovers and also making key tackles and vital times. Ex Bristol player Deborah Fleming was fast and aggressive on and off the ball, causing problems for the Bristol defence. Her hat-trick in the first half was due to a combination of that skill and pace.
A charge down before just before half time took the score to 0 – 20.
Bristol started off well in the second half, with Izzy Noel Smith, Sarah Hunter and Olivia Jones all making breaks and creating chances for the home side.
However Saracens took the first score of the second half, with Poppy Cleall getting her second of the afternoon. Bristol came back fighting, as Amelia Buckland Hurry made a storming carry through the Saracens defence, only for the final pass to go into touch.
A strong Saracens scrum led to their 7th try of the afternoon, driving over the try line to take their score to 35.
Bristol powered on until the end, and Sue Neumann, who came on from the bench, ran a strong line through the Saracens line – offloading to Sarah Bern who dotted the ball down to give Bristol their first points of the afternoon.
Head Coach LJ Adams: ‘We knew this was going to be a tough game. We had a great run into this match with wins from the last few games, but Saracens are reigning champions and we knew they would bring their top game today. Our defensive line speed was good and the girls really played their hearts out. We needed to be more clinical when we had the ball and keep hold of the ball more effectively too. Saracens are a team that we want to be like – we’ve got new players, young players and we’re on a journey with aim of becoming Premiership champions – this just serves as a reminder of what we may face in the playoff and will only focus our efforts and make us work even harder. A big shout out to all the girls today – a lot of effort and commitment was shown by all of them.’
Final score: Bristol Ladies 5 (1 try) – Saracens Ladies 35 (7 tries).
Forward of the game: Amelia Buckland Hurry (pictured above by Rikki Teml)
Back of the game: Sarah Bern
Voted for by the players
Captain Izzy Noel Smith said: ‘Amelia played fantastically well, making great tackles and carrying the ball well. Sarah is new with us this season and was playing out of position today, but she was positive- always looking for a way through and it was fitting that she got the try for us this afternoon’
Game Score Stats
10m – TRY Saracens – Poppy Cleall, 0 – 5
21m – TRY Saracens – Deborah Fleming 0 – 10
24m – TRY Saracens – Deborah Fleming 0 – 15
27m – TRY Saracens – Deborah Fleming 0 -20
30m – TRY Saracens – Nina Vistisen, 0 – 25
49m – TRY Saracens – Poppy Cleall – 0 – 30
69m – TRY Saracens – Sonia Green
79m – TRY Bristol – Sarah Bern – 5 – 35
Bristol Ladies 1st XV
- Abbie Parsons
2. Clara Nielson
3. Catherine Finnemore
4. Poppy Leitch
5. Amelia Buckland Hurry
6. Izzy Noel-Smith
7. Claire Molloy
8. Sarah Hunter
9. Chantelle Miell
10. Elinor Snowsill
11. Olivia Jones
12. Sarah Bern
13. Tilly Vaughan Fowler
14. Sydney Gregson
15. Katie Mason
- Daisy Travers (for Finnermore 40m)
17. Sue Neumann (for Leitch, 60m)
18. Jessie Hood (for Noel Smith, 75m)
- Bryoney Cleall (for Mason, 70m)
Bristol Ladies 2nd XV
- Kathryn Buggy
- Becki Belcher
- Kayleigh Armstrong
- Alice Rooke
- Beth Turpin
- Vicky Zaffiro
- Naomi Smith
- Sophie Cleverly
- Ruth Dives
- Emma Nicholson
- Trish Brown
- Courtney Bishop
- Emma Lacey
Bristol Ladies 2nd XV vs Saracens Ladies 2nd XV
FINAL SCORE: Bristol Ladies 2nd XV 0 – 74 Saracens Ladies
Coach Roy Davies ‘The work rate of the girls this week was top class, alongside their attitude and the amount of effort they put in. We defended bravely and attacked well when we had the ball. Naomi Smith and Becki Belcher had really positives games – high work rates and both players made lots of tackles. Alice Rooke is also new to the team and performed really well’
Player of the match went to Kathryn Buggy – voted for by the players.
Report courtesy of Emma Bacon/Bristol Ladies