MATCH REPORT | Gloucester-Hartpury 24-15 Saracens Women (PWR Rd 9)
Saracens Women suffered a first defeat of the league campaign, as Gloucester-Hartpury ensured that they left Kingsholm with nothing to show for their efforts.
Sarries invited pressure on themselves early doors with a knock-on straight from kick-off, as the hosts applied the pressure.
Sarries continued to defend with all their might, as the ball was held up over the line, but eventually, the pressure told, as Kelsey Jones crossed from the back of a maul.
In a nip and tuck game, Sarries came back into contention, as they looked to apply the pressure, as they continued to pepper the Gloucester line. Sydney Gregson went close, but the defence held firm, with Sarries held up over the line.
Penalties were mounting against the hosts now, as Sisilia Tuipulotu saw yellow for repeated breakdown infringements.
Again, Sarries were held up over the line, but eventually, the pressure told, with May Campbell barrelling over from the back of the maul.
With the hosts looking to apply the pressure again, Poppy Cleall popped up with several crucial interventions to halt the Gloucester charge.
The game was on a knife-edge now, with the hosts continuing to build phases and momentum.
With the clock in the red at the end of the first half, Cleall saw yellow for collapsing the maul, before Jones crossed for her second of the afternoon at the end of the half to put her side back into the lead.
At the start of the second half, Sarries needed a response, but they were unable to find it, as Jones crossed for her hattrick to take her side two scores clear.
The game felt like it was beginning to slip away from Sarries, but they stayed in the fight thanks to a crucial intercept from McKinley Hunt, as the prop powered away up the field, only to be hauled down metres short of the line.
Sarries kept their composure and looked to have scored, only to be held up over the line again.
However, an intervention from the TMO saw Gloucester’s Jones sent over for head contact in the tackle, with Bryony Field crossing from the resulting penalty to reduce the deficit.
Sarries were back in the game now, but a miscued clearance kick heading into the final quarter gifted territory back to the hosts.
From there, the pressure was ramped up again on the Sarries defence, as Gloucester continued to put the pressure on.
In the end, Sarries were powerless to stop the hosts, as Emma Sing danced through for a fourth try for the hosts, effectively ending the game as a contest.
Heading into the final ten minute, Gloucester continued to apply the pressure, only for another breakdown penalty to go against the hosts, as Sarries got out of jail again.
With the clock in the red, a flowing backs move allowed Coreen Grant to skate over out wide, but a miss from the challenging conversion meant that Sarries left Kingsholm with no points for their efforts.