MATCH REPORT | Trailfinders Women 10-45 Saracens Women (AC Rd - 4)
Saracens Women secured a dominant victory on the road, to keep themselves in the hunt for an Allianz Cup semi-final berth.
In testing conditions, Alex Austerberry’s side used their forward dominance to their advantage, as they cut loose after an even first quarter.
The early exchanges saw both sides struggle to hold onto the ball, in the face of resolute defence, with Trailfinders posing plenty of questions of the Saracens side.
It was Sarries who struck first though, as Sharifa Kasolo powered over from close range, after the returning Poppy Cleall had helped set the platform for her side.
Trailfinders were straight back into it though, as Saracens failed to deal with the restart, as Jess Cooksey eventually weaved her way over.
It was end-to-end in the first quarter, as Sarries took themselves back into the lead thanks to the pack. A driving maul set the platform, before Emma Taylor found a gap in the defence and propelled herself over.
Trailfinders continued to set about their task though, as the preyed upon Sarries mistakes with ball in hand. The danger looked to have been averted after another Trailfinders attack, as Pursglove was forced into touch with the try line in sight. However, the reprieve was short-lived, as an overthrown lineout allowed Liz Crake to level the match.
Whilst it was cagey on the scoreboard, Saracens were continuing to dominate upfront, with the pack drawing countless penalties at scrum-time.
It was from one of those platforms that Sarries retook a lead that they would never relinquish too, as Sydney Gregson picked a perfect line in midfield to skate over.
If that was good from the centre, what followed next from Chloe Flanagan was even better!
Sarries look to press the accelerator, with Isla Alejandro carving her way towards the Trailfdiners 22, before Sarries built the phases.
Flanagan though, decided she would take matters into her own hands, with a sumptuous line and a deft turn of pace to break free and race clear from 20m, for her first try in Saracens colours.
As the second-half got underway, the heavens opened, with both sides struggling to deal with the greasy ball and slippery conditions.
It was all Trailfinders in terms of territory and possession, but the Sarries defence held firm, as they withstood the pressure and won the ball back with what was becoming a trademark scrum penalty.
It was the pack again who then turned defence into attack, as Bryony Field dotted down off the back of a 30m driving maul that just seemed to accelerate with every step towards the line.
With a cushion on the scoreboard, Sarries continued to pepper the Trailfinders backfield, with Amelia MacDougall putting her opposite number under all sorts of pressure deep in the 22.
The hosts then failed to hold onto the ball, allowing the Saracens pack to go to work. After a series of bursts towards the line, Sophie Tansley eventually found the space to score her side’s sixth of the afternoon, with Jemma-Jo Linkins continuing her faultless half off the tee.
To their credit, Trailfinders continued to set about their task, as they looked to grab a third of the afternoon. Every time though, the Saracens defence held firm, with the scrum proving to be the ultimate weapon in challenging conditions.
Trailfinders lost a player to the bin, as the penalties at scrum-time continued to mount, but Saracens weren’t done there, as the returning May Campbell spotted a gap to charge through and take her side past the forty-point mark.
Linkins again added the extras, to cap an impressive afternoon for Sarries that leaves their cup fate very much in their own hands, going into next weekend’s home tie with Gloucester-Hartpury.