Saracens Women pulled off another last-minute win as they beat Loughborough Lightning 31 – 28 at Loughborough University on Saturday 23 March.
In doing so, Saracens Women secured top spot in the Tyrrells Premier 15s as they maintained a seven point lead over Harlequins Ladies and booked a home semi-final for the play-offs next month.
This was the first match in the TP15s for both teams since before the Women’s Six Nations and they both welcomed back a number of England’s Grand Slam winners.
Saracens Women controlled large parts of the first half and were 19 – 0 up after just over half an hour thanks to tries by prop Bryony Cleall and a brace by captain and winger Charlotte Clapp, with two conversions by Zoe Harrison
However, repeated infringement by Saracens Women led to a yellow card for Bryony Cleall and Loughborough took advantage, Sarah Hunter scoring on the stroke of half-time to leave the score at 19 – 7
Despite being a player down Saracens Women started the second half well and it was No.8 Poppy Cleall who crashed over in the corner to put the away team further ahead at 24 – 7.
Loughborough however started to take control as they capitalised on mistakes by the visitors and two tries in eight minutes by Olivia Jones and Dalaeka Melin brought the score back to 24 – 21 with fifteen minutes to go.
The home continued to maintain pressure and after four minutes camped inside the Saracens Women’s 22 Sarah Bonar went over next to the posts and Loughborough had a 28 – 24 lead with three minutes to go.
A smart kick-off from Zoe Harrison gave Saracens Women the chance to challenge for possession and Loughborough were forced to concede a penalty.
Saracens Women kicked to touch and after a series of pick and goes from the forwards, it was prop Hannah Botterman who got over the line to give them the win.
Saracens Women will finish the regular season at home to Firwood Waterloo Ladies as they welcome the side from the north west to Allianz Park on Saturday 30 March
Image courtesy of @SaracensWomen