Warriors Women were made to pay for squandering a string of clear-cut opportunities as table-toppers Saracens Women ran out 27-0 winners at Sixways Stadium in the final round of the Allianz Premier 15s.
Warriors were just 8-0 down at the break and should have gone into the sheds with a try to their name had the impressive Paige Farries not knocked on with the try line at her mercy.
Sarries pushed home their advantage in the second period with three unanswered tries sealing the bonus point ahead of their semi-final play-off against Loughborough Lightning at StoneX Stadium on May 22.
The contest began with much promise led by the dependable Sioned Harries at number-eight, who spearheaded a Warriors pack dominant at the scrum for much of the first half.
Saracens took 19 minutes to break the deadlock, England international Marlie Packer crashing over from close range after Warriors’ defensive line creaked due to the unrelenting pressure. Zoe Harrison was unable to convert, and Warriors trailed 5-0 with much to be positive about at the midway point.
It was clear to see the expansive brand of rugby on show from Warriors despite the sodden Worcestershire conditions – Vicky Laflin and Meg Varley at times looking to stretch their legs in attack.
Just past the half hour mark, Warriors had a golden opportunity to restore parity when the ball was switched to the far side with a two-player overlap, however they decided to throw a looping pass rather than go through the hands and the ball was lost forward from Canada wing Farries.
Sarries knew they were in a game and this was underlined by Harrison electing to kick at goal with a penalty on the stroke of half-time to make it 8-0.
Warriors came out for the second half in fine fettle, a bone-crunching tackle on Packer forcing the ball to go loose as the primrose and blue shirts rallied around one another.
Farries, who was a standout performer for Warriors, was in the thick of the action once more when she broke Sarries’ backline with a blistering turn of pace only to be thwarted inside the visitors’ 22.
Jo Yapp’s side were made to rue this missed chance as Saracens showed their class in the backline courtesy of Georgie Lingham, who took Chantell Miell’s offload to scoot in for the score.
Moments later, the Londoners registered their 100th try of the season through Kat Evans having only just come on as a replacement. The sevens specialist added the finishing touches to a driving maul, with Harrison converting to put her side 22-0 ahead.
Saracens wing Rachel Laqeretubua rounded off the scoring with a well-taken try in the corner for 27-0 as Warriors struggled to contain the physical battle in the closing stages.
Warriors end the campaign in seventh position and can look back on the season with pride having recorded five victories including a double over Bristol Bears.
19m | Packer try 0-5
34m | Harrison pen 0-8
48m | Lingham try 0-13
49m | Harrison con 0-15
56m | Evans try 0-20
57m | Harrison con 0-22
67m | Laqeratabua try 0-27
Warriors Women | 15 Carys Cox, 14 Paige Farries, 13 Vicky Foxwell, 12 Meg Varley, 11 Vicky Laflin, 10 Sarah Nicholas, 9 Caity Mattinson, 1 Caryl Thomas, 2 Carmen Tremelling, 3 Flo Long, 4 Cara Brincat, 5 Amelia Buckland Hurry, 6 Taz Bricknell, 7 Alex Callender, 8 Sioned Harries ©
Replacements | 16 Abby Smitheman, 17 Akina Gondwe, 18 Elizabeth Shermer, 19 Jemima Moss, 20 Charlotte Wright Haley, 21 Brooke Bradley, 22 Abi Kershaw, 23 Zoe Heeley