MATCH REPORT | Saracens Women 32-10 Bristol Bears Women (PWR Rd-6)
Saracens Women turned on the style in the second half, to secure a Christmas cracker of a win against Bristol Bears.
In front of the third biggest crowd at StoneX for a women’s fixture, Sarries started the brightest, as they filled the crowd with festive cheer.
Sarries were the side to score first and this one was worthy of being a Christmas Number 1, as Sophie de Goede burst free down the shortside, finding Sydney Gregson who in turn found Jess Breach for a scintillating score!
Bristol though, were determined to play their part as the Christmas Grinch, as they levelled proceedings through Lark Atkin-Davies from a driving maul moments later.
If Sarries had been the side flexing their muscles in the opening minutes, it was the Bears now who were beginning to roar into life.
Sarries were getting no luck at the breakdown, repeatedly falling foul of the referee’s whistle, as the Bears continued to dominate.
An intercept from the Bears looked like it was going to cause more damage to the scoreboard, but Sarries, somehow, held on.
The dam eventually burst though, as Bristol crossed for their second through Phoebe Murray, after the centre latched onto a little kick through from Amber Reed, to see her side it the front.
The Bears were in full flight now and were held up twice in quick succession as they hunted more points.
Sarries were continuing to stand firm, defending their line like their lives depended on it.
With over 30 minutes on the clock, Alex Austerberry’s side finally got their hands back on the ball, but this time, it was the Bristol defence that stood firm.
Into the second half and Sarries burst out of the blocks, with Sydney Gregson racing home for Christmas. Well, racing into the Bristol 22 at least.
That break helped get the Sarries faithful back in full voice, as they cheered their side on.
They were in full voice minutes later too, as Rosie Galligan pounced on a loose ball to dive over, only for the TMO to intervene after a knock-on in the tackle.
Sarries were beginning to find their mojo now though and hit back through Marlie Packer off the back of a maul.
Packer scoring off driving mauls is as common as a box of Celebrations at Christmas and there was no stopping the co-captain here.
Moments later, Sarries edged ahead for the first time since the opening minutes, after Poppy Cleall and Coreen Grant combined to take play into the Bears 22.
From there, the ball was worked to De Goede and there was only going to be one outcome, as the back-row turned on the afterburners and carved through the Bristol defence like it was a turkey on the dinner table!
Poppy Cleall then popped up with two monstrous tackles into touch to halt the Bears charge further, before Sarries added another present under their tree, with May Campbell powering over for the bonus point score from the back of another devastating maul.
Sarries weren’t done there though, with Packer bursting over from another suffocating drive from the pack with five minutes on the clock, to end the game as a contest.
There was now time for some festive cheer, with Sarries finally gaining the upper hand at the breakdown, as the Bristol attack began to slowly run out of ideas.
After a knock-on from the Bears deep inside their own half, there was still one-last chance for Sarries to grab a final present, with Coreen Grant scampering over out wide to add some gloss to the scoreline, with De Goede slotting the conversion from the touchline to finish the match and leave the players roaring in delight!
Wizzard may wish it could be Christmas every day but for now, the Sarries faithful will be content to relive this one again, as their side head into the new year with five bonus point wins from five, to sit alone at the top of the festive tree!