Worcester Ladies and Saracens produced an exciting game at Westons, with the home side having the majority of possession and until enforced changes were made in the second half, looked most likely to win this encounter. Credit due to Saracens, who were able to weather a significant storm, then apply their pressure at the crucial moments in the game eventually winning by 26-12.
Saracens were a much larger team physically and part of Worcester’s downfall was their inability to tackle low.
Worcester stated brightly and ran the ball wide causing the visitors some discomfort, however, the ferocity and skill of Saracens at the breakdown ensured that home side’s efforts were kept at bay.
Saracens opened the scoring against the run of play, Marcella Collins bursting through the home defence, April Brown taking the extras.
Worcester were undeterred and continue to press forward, containing the visitors in their own half for extensive periods. It came as no surprise to anyone watching when Rochelle Clark reduced the deficit, driving over the line from a classic pick and go. Despite going into the break two points in arrears, Worcester emerged with the same confidence and intensity, immediately taking the game to the visitors, Ceri Large evading three tackles to score under the posts, then converting her own try. At this stage even the neutrals in the crowd must have banked on Worcester going on to record an impressive victory. However, Saracens took full advantage of the unsettling effect that changes can have on a side, scoring 14 points within 4 minutes, both tries coming from the powerful running of Poppy Cleall, aided by the home sides tacking policy, with Brown taking the extras to effectively seal the game.
To their credit, Worcester continued to take the game to Saracens, but were unable to evade the final defender, invariably Lauren Cattell. This final flurry of attacking flair saw them pay the price for committing players up field, allowing Rach Potter to score in the closing minutes with Brown again converting.
Worcester can take a great deal of credit for their competitive performance against this strong Saracens team, and would doubtless have settled for their losing bonus point before the game. This performance shows that the development work of the coaches is now having effect.
For Worcester, Rhiannon Parker at inside centre was a prominent creative player and the young Rhiannon Donnahey was more than a match for the experienced Saracens back row at the break down. Lauren Cattell was most influential in keeping Worcester at bay making countless timely tackles throughout the game and the power of Poppy Cleall was felt throughout.
Both Worcester teams travel to Lichfield next week, kick off 2.30 at Cook Fields.
Worcester thanked their sponsors Vets Now, NMU, Worcestershire County Council, Foil Specialist, Knowles Sports, WRFC 100 Club, Aline, New Inn Claines, AJB Photographic and Hasbeanz for their continued support.
Match report by David Guest Worcester 1st XV Manager
Above photo from AJB Photographic