Saracens Women hold firm against Harlequins Ladies to secure inaugural Tyrrells Premier 15s title
Last Updated: 01/05/18 2:42pm
Saracens Women secured the inaugural Tyrrells Premier 15s title with a hard-fought 24-20 victory over rivals Harlequins Ladies at Ealing Trailfinders RC.
Prop Sam Martinez Gion powered over for the opening try of the match inside the first five minutes for Saracens before captain Lotte Clapp and Garnet Mackinder extended their lead, while Quins were forced to wait until the sixth minute of first-half overtime for their first try through Holly Myers.
Harlequins scored their second try after the break courtesy of Jess Breach to increase hope of a comeback victory, but Saracens hit back through Hannah Botterman and they hung on for the title after Deborah McCormack's score for Quins.
The two London-based teams had shared the spoils during the regular season, having both won on the road, and it was Saracens who took the initiative through Martinez Gion after a big carry by Botterman.
Quins scored their first points of the match thanks to the boot of Ellie Green but, after a cagey spell of play which included errors from both sides, it was Clapp who cut a fine line to run under the posts for a converted try.
Wing Mackinder appeared to have given Saracens a 14-point advantage at the interval with a last-minute try but, after patient and persistent build-up play, Myers found some space, as the opposition defence was caught narrow, to cross over.
The Harlequins coaching staff brought on England Commonwealth Sevens bronze-medallist Breach after half-time for Natasha Bradshaw in an attempt to add attacking impetus as they aimed to reduce their nine-point deficit.
After early second-half pressure Quins moved within four points of their opponents after quick thinking from a penalty allowed Breach to evade the best efforts of the Sarries' defence.
Rowland broke the Harlequins defence before being brought down just short of the try-line, but after going through the phases Botterman eventually dived over.
Hope of a Quins title grew when McCormack used her strength to help them move within a try of victory but despite good territory in the closing stages, the Saracens defence proved resolute to secure the victory and spark jubilant celebrations.