Source: Wasps

Dramatic Finishes and a Red Card

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Allianz Premier 15s – Round 7

In the biggest clash of the day Bristol Bears had to give way to the perennial winners, Saracens, but only after an almighty tussle at the StoneX.

Hannah Botterman thought she had got over the line, but hadn’t counted on Sarah Bern dispossessing her as she fell earthwards – a brilliant rescue.

Then Bears had the nerve to score first, Jenny Hesketh touching down on the right after a succession of raids finally found Sarries wanting. (0-5)

The game grew feisty after that, England players squaring up to each other, and Harry Walbaum had to speak to the captains. Sarries went back to the tried and trusted, the pack earning themselves a penalty try. (7-5) Alisha Butchers was yellowed in the process.

Bristol had to defend grimly as Sarries came hard at them. They held out beyond half-time, and even saw Zoe Harrison yellowed for a deliberate knock-on as she tried to stem a Bears’ raid.

Ella Wyrwas broke the deadlock with a delightful chip and chase. (14-5) Butchers responded with a fine break, carried on by Ella Lovibond who scored in the corner. Amber Reed added two vital points. (14-12)

But Harrison had the last word, converting a penalty to reverse the top two positions.

Result: 17-12

Wasps v Sale Sharks

Wasps struggled to put Sale away in an error-strewn game. Sharks gave them plenty of problems, even after losing Leah Lyons to the first red card of the season. Mike Lamb and his AR debated a head clash for some time before he flourished the dreaded card.

Though Wasps were deprived of seven internationals, they still had seven more in the pack. The trouble was, a catalogue of mistimed or misdirected passes held them back. Great credit is due to the visitors’ determination; their forwards took a lot of quelling.

Maud Muir had another gallop to set beside the best that Sarah Bern and Simi Pam can produce.

But it needed Sam Monaghan to charge down a relieving kick and score in the final moments of the game to ensure a vital bonus point that had looked unlikely till then.

Gloucester-Hartpury v Loughborough Lightning

The Alpas Stadium game was hugely entertaining and offered a nail-biting finish. Lightning have been hard hit by injury and prior calls, so this away win on the other campus is a massive boost for them. G-H again played with great fluency, but the old weakness, scrummaging power, took its toll.

The crowd could enjoy a series of outstanding tries, starting with a dramatic midfield break by Georgie Lingham; she linked to Helena Rowland who set off on a world tour to the line.

7-28 down at halfway, G-H came back strongly, helped by a yellow for Emma Wassell at a line-out and another for Sadia Kabeya under the posts. On 72 minutes they at last took the lead; a dramatic game bubbled to overflowing.

But Lightning found new force, winning two penalties that let them build a last drive that finished over the line.

A game that brought distinction to both sides.


Gloucester-Hartpury 31 Loughborough Lightning 33
Harlequins 69 DMP Durham Sharks 7
Saracens 17 Bristol Bears 12
Wasps 22 Sale Sharks 8
Worcester Warriors 12 Exeter 29

Table ​​​                P​      W​     L​      Pts

Saracens​​            7       7​      0​       33

Bristol​​​                7       ​6     ​1         ​31

Harlequins  ​​      7        5​      2       ​24

Exeter​​​                 7       5       2​       23

Wasps​​​                 7​      4        3       21

Gloucester-H     7      2       ​ 5       15

Loughborough  ​​​ 7      2​        5​       12

Worcester​​           6      ​2        4​       11

Sale                  ​​    7      1         6        6

DMPDS​​               6     0​         6        0


Gloucester-Hartpury v Loughborough Lightning
Referee: Daniel Rowlands
ARs: Andy Green and Fiona Brunt

Harlequins v DMP Durham Sharks
Referee: Leonie Pryor
ARs: Chris Rodwell and Paul Carroll

Saracens v Bristol Bears
Referee: Harry Walbaum
ARs: Harry Parsons and Philip Bowers

Wasps v Sale Sharks
Referee: Mike Lamb
ARs: Peter Buchanan and Simon Priestly

Worcester Warriors v Exeter Chiefs
Referee: Ben Rayner
ARs: Michael Hurdley and Fred Spong

with thanks to

Media Coverage

BBC2: Sarries v Bears

Live stream:

Glos-Pury v Lightning

Quins v DMPDS


Liza ‘Bird’ Burgess has been appointed head coach of the Welsh Under 18 squad, to then take responsibility for the Under 20 group from 2023. That is excellent news. She will work on a part-time basis till June next year when her post at Worcester Warriors terminates.

Quins have announced details of their next Game Changer, to take place on 5 February against Saracens. Sarries are worthy opponents for a game of this size, but when head coach Gerard Mullen says: The Game Changer event is the biggest standalone Women’s Club fixture in this country’, we have to wonder where that leaves the Quins-Wasps game on 27 December. Billed as the Big Game, it will be staged at Twickenham Stadium in front of a hoped-for record club crowd, no less.

Lisa Cockburn has joined Warriors from DMPDS. This is yet more bad news for the Sharks. Lisa returned only in Round 4 from her exertions with Scotland, but had been with them for eight years.

Tamara Taylor is returning to Sharks on a short-term loan. The only social media responses come from Sarries. ‘Come back soon’ is the gist.

But the real question is how DMP managed to let go of one of their most valued properties in the first place. Tamara was listed as No 21 on the bench list – no detailed comment from the club.