Source: Ash Goodchild @AshSportsPhotos

The Numbers Game – Allianz Premier 15s – Round Six

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For the first time the BBC broadcast an AP 15s game live, though not on a main channel. This was a second huge step forward in two days after BBC One covered the Barbarians game.

Bristol Bears v Wasps

I can’t recall when a side last put out only 21 players. It was kind of England to deny Wasps the use of two players; four others were with the GB 7s squad; the rest were injured. Cliodhna Moloney found herself debuting at No 12!

Bristol were short of full-strength too, no Siwan Lillicrap, Jasmine Joyce or Grace Crompton, but the balance of power helped them to another bonus-point win, their first ever against the Londoners, and a return to top spot. What’s more, they are due for a second successive BBC showing next week. To them that have…

The Bears do look like potential finalists, as their talented centre, Phoebe Murray, predicts, and they pulled away from a tiring Wasps side in the last quarter.

But the Wasps pack, less affected by the non-availabilities, kept the Bears at bay for long periods with expert work at breakdowns, led of course by Claire Molloy.

The difference came out behind, where a seasoned link of Bevan-Snowsill-Reed gave the hosts a decisive advantage. The two Welsh back-threes, Courtney Keight and Kayleigh Powell, both had fine games.

Player of the Match: Kayleigh Powell


On Saturday Saracens had to fight for their lives at the Alpas Stadium. They led 14-0 at the break, but Glos-Pury came back magnificently (tries by Connie Powell and Tatyana Heard) to snatch a 21-14 lead.

Sarries trailed till very late in the game.

But a stark example of how they have gained top billing in every Prem 15s season now followed. They worked the ball from their own 22 into their opponents’ red zone. There were no hiccoughs along the way. Sure enough, when the decisive deed was needed, the day’s captain, Marlie Packer, drove under the defending bodies to equalise. (21-21)

As the clock froze on 80 minutes, the Sarries steamroller continued to power its way forward. By dint of finely controlled pick-and-goes, each one gained the odd metre or two. There was a curious inevitability about it all; you knew Andy Wigley would blow his whistle for an off-side, and sure enough he did.

Fourteen black shirts could relax, knowing that the all-important kick would go over, gale or no gale. And over it went. Does Zoe Harrison get another rise?

Lightning got desperately close to a win at Sandy Park, but a timely thrust through centre-field by Ebony Jefferies did for them. Their barren run continues, but Susie Appleby will be concerned at her team’s inability to put the visitors away more comfortably. They miss out on another precious bonus point.

Quins had an enjoyable romp in Cheshire with Rachael Burford at last able to don a shirt again, but the gap between the top two and the chasers is already a tidy ten points.

Storm Arwen caused the Darlington game to be called off.


DMP Durham Sharks v Worcester Warriors CANCELLED (WEATHER)
Exeter 14 Loughborough Lightning 7
Gloucester-Hartpury 21 Saracens 24
Sale Sharks 10 Harlequins 36
Bristol 36 Wasps 17

Table ​​​                P​      W​     L​      Pts

Bristol​​​                6       6     0       ​30

Saracens​​            6       6​      0​       29

Harlequins  ​​      6        4​      2       19

Exeter​​​                 6       4       2​       18

Wasps​​​                 6​      3        3       16

Gloucester-H     6      2       ​ 4       13

Worcester​​           5      ​2        3​       11

Loughborough  ​​​ 6      1​        5​        7

Sale                  ​​    6      1         5        6

DMPDS​​               5     0​         5        0

DMPDS and Warriors have to replay their R6 game


Exeter v Loughborough Lightning
Referee: Adam Wookey
ARs: Harry Groves and Andy Bickle

Gloucester-Hartpury v Saracens
Referee: Andy Wigley
ARs: Oli Carey and Dave Philpot

Exeter v Loughborough Lightning
Referee: Adam Wookey
ARs: Harry Groves and Andy Bickle

Sale Sharks v Harlequins
Referee: Callum Watson
ARs: Tom Doig and Tim Brown

with thanks to