Saracens Women retained their Tyrrells Premier 15s title after a 33-17 win over Harlequins Ladies at Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton.
In front of 2,590 fans in the east Midlands, Saracens were ahead inside three minutes when Red Roses No 8 Poppy Cleall dived over from close range.
They doubled their score inside ten minutes when quick hands sent Sydney Gregson in out wide as the north London side dominated the opening exchanges.
A brilliant dummy from England fly half Zoe Harrison got Sarries’ third on 20 minutes before a second score from Cleall and another show and go from Harrison on the stroke of half-time established a 27-0 lead.
Quins got on the scoresheet through Emily Scott’s penalty, but Sarries restored their big lead when Harrison slotted over a penalty of her own.
Quins eventually got their first try on 54 minutes through prop Vickii Cornborough and another period of sustained pressure saw captain Rachael Burford burst over from the back of a ruck.
Just as momentum seemed to be shifting Harlequins’ way in the closing stages, Saracens, who beat Quins 24-20 in the final at Ealing Trailfinders last year, closed out the game with Harrison’s second penalty in a 18-point haul for her.
Alex Austerberry’s side won 17 of their 18 regular games this season to finish top ahead of Quins in second, and continued that form to beat Wasps FC Ladies in the play-off semi-finals ahead of this win in the final.
Player of the match Poppy Cleall commented: “It’s crazy to think that in such a competitive league we’ve come out the other end winning a final so it’s a great feeling.
“We knew that we could play rugby like that but I think that we shocked ourselves with the way that we came out and were so clinical. Normally you get ten chances and you put away five but at the start of that game we were putting away every chance that we got which just showed what sort of rugby we can play.”
It was the final rugby match for 33-year-old Saracens scrum half Georgie Gulliver after she announced her retirement earlier this week.
Gulliver won 37 caps for England and has been a regular in the number nine shirt for Harlequins since joining from Litchfield Ladies in 2014.
Gulliver now has back-to-back titles after starting both finals over the past two seasons and received a warm applause when she came off the pitch for the last time on 58 minutes for Emma Swords.
Saracens Women: 15. Sarah McKenna, 14. Sydney Gregson, 13. Hannah Casey, 12. Lauren Cattell, 11. Lotte Clapp (c), 10. Zoe Harrison, 9. Georgie Gulliver; 1. El Perry, 2. May Campbell, 3. Hannah Botterman, 4. Sonia Green, 5. Rosie Galligan, 6. Jodie Rettie, 7. Lauren Newman, 8. Poppy Cleall.
Replacements: 16. Sarah Bebbington, 17. Jeani Layola, 18. Hannah Duffy, 19. Kay Searcy, 20. Emma Swords, 21. Nina Vistisen, 22. Chantelle Miell.
Harlequins Ladies: 15. Emily Scott, 14. Heather Cowell, 13. Khadidja Camara, 12. Rachael Burford (c), 11. Jess Breach, 10. Ellie Green, 9. Leanne Riley; 1. Vickii Cornborough, 2. Davinia Catlin, 3. Chloe Edwards, 4. Abbie Scott, 5. Chloe Butler, 6. Fiona Fletcher, 7. Kristine Sommer, 8. Jade Konkel.
Replacements: 16. Leah Lyons, 17. Tove Viksten, 18. Deborah McCormack, 19. Zoe Saynor, 20. Lucy Packer, 21. Holly Myers, 22. Bethany Wilcock.
Saracens tries: P Cleall 2, Gregson, Harrison 2 Cons: Harrison Pens:Harrison 2
Harlequins tries: Cornborough, Burford Cons: E Scott 2 Pens: E Scott
Courtesy of the RFU