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MATCH REPORT | Loughborough Lightning 25-33 Saracens Women (AC Cup - Rd 2)

30.09.23
In association with
City Index City Index
Match Rep Lou A

Saracens Women held their nerve to secure a first victory of the cup campaign at Franklin’s Gardens.

After a defeat last weekend to Harlequins, Alex Austerberry’s side were dealt a blow in the warm-up, as fly-half Amelia MacDougall was ruled out. Sarah McKenna moved to ten, with Cara Wardle coming into the starting XV.

It was Loughborough who made the fastest start, as Sarries were rocked by poor discipline in the early exchanges, allowing the Lightning pack to build the pressure and go over from close range.

It took until the tenth minute for Sarries to fire their first shot, as Bryony Field did as she promised pre-match; putting in a booming tackle on one of her former clubmates, to force a turnover.

Saracens were starting to build now, as Sharifa Kasolo latched onto McKenna’s chip through and burst free. The ball was then worked wide to Jemma-Jo Linkins, but the fullback was hauled into touch inches short of the line.

From the lineout, the hosts overthrow and, despite Leanne Infante being held up over the line, Sarries quickly returned to the red zone. With a scrum five metres out, the pack showed their class to power forward, leaving the referee with no choice but to run under the posts for a penalty try.

The hosts came back into it though, as they pounced on a lack of discipline for Sarries. With Sydney Gregson in the bin for a deliberate knock-on, Lia Green edged her side back into the lead.

Sarries would be denied twice more, as they were held up over the line, but they ensured they headed in at the break with a slender advantage, as Sophie Tansley found the space to muscle over from close range.

A fast start was needed in the second period and Sarries found it through Gregson. The centre had looked lively all evening and there was no stopping her here, as she pounced on a kick through to finish under the posts.

The match was beginning to turn in Sarries’ favour, as Loughborough struggled to deal with the suffocating defensive effort. However, penalties again began to mount, allowing the hosts to build the platform, with Morrall going over out wide.

The game was ebbing and flowing now, with Lotte Clapp nearly finished off a superb move, that saw her take the ball off an inside pass and race clear to the line, only to be denied by a last-gasp tackle.

The pressure eventually told though, with Grace Moore picking up where she left off last season, to power over.

Heading into the final quarter, the hosts again caught the Saracens defence napping, as Daisy Hibbert-Jones found a pocket of space to run in and reduce the deficit.

Sarries though, showed all of their big game experience when it mattered most.

Gregson again came to the fore, with a delicate kick in-behind to peg the hosts back in their half, as Saracens looked to suffocate the hosts’ attack.

In the final ten minutes of the game, Infante sewed up the victory for her side, as she spotted a gap down the side of the ruck, racing clear from forty metres, to take her side more than a score clear.

Jemma-Jo Linkins added the points again on her first start for the club, but Loughborough would secure a try bonus of their own straight from the restart through Shrestha.

Crucially, the conversion was missed, to keep it at an eight-point gap and, despite Loughborough finishing on the attack in the Saracens 22, the defensive efforts of the side proved enough, as Clapp forced a knock-on from the hosts, to seal the victory and kickstart their cup campaign.

Gloucester News

MATCH REPORT | Saracens Men 46-24 Gloucester Rugby

Saracens Men moved up to second in the Gallagher Premiership after a dominant 46-24 victory over Gloucester Rugby at a sold-out StoneX Stadium. Tom Parton scored the fastest hat trick in Premiership history, crossing for three tries in the first 20 minutes as the Men in Black hit the front and they never looked back […]

20.04.24
In association with
City Index City Index
Rd10react

MATCH REACTION | Camilla Buchanan (NSL Rd 10)

Head Coach Camilla Buchanan credited the fight shown by her side, as they gave champions Loughborough Lightning a stern examination away from home. Lightning comfortably won the fixture between these two sides at HSV earlier in the season, but there was no easy ride here, as Mavericks tested them all the way. Reflecting on the […]

20.04.24
In association with
Shawbrook Shawbrook

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