BY JONNY BRAY
POPPY CLEALL SCORED HER FIFTEENTH TRY OF THE SEASON AS SARACENS WOMEN DREW WITH HARLEQUINS WOMEN IN A HUGE STEP TOWARDS SECURING TOP SPOT IN THE ALLIANZ PREMIER 15S.
Cleall opened the scoring for Sarries in an incredibly entertaining opening 35 minutes, before Ellie Green kicked a penalty moment later.
Katy Mew crossed the whitewash for quins after the break before May Campbell put Sarries back in control but Leanne Riley’s try left Saracens needing a Zoe Harrison penalty to rescue a result in the last play of the game.
Quins won two penalties in the early stages and gained some good territory but a Rocky Clark turnover kept the scores level.
The Women in Black started getting some joy in the jackal, winning penalty after penalty before Cleall carried from the back of a five metre scrum and scored her fifteenth try of the season.
Harrison converted the try, but minutes later Green kicked a penalty from in front of the posts to reduce the deficit to four points after Sarries were judged to have been offside.
The quality of rugby was outstanding in the first half, with Saracens putting together numerous phases at the 27 minute mark including an outstanding line break from Georgia Evans, whilst Harlequins always looked threatening with ball in hand.
Just before half time, Harlequins were camped on the Saracens five metre line, however another outstanding turnover from Cleall resulted in a penalty for Sarries to bring an end to the half.
Both sides looked fired up after the break. Quins responded first, as Mew scored from a five meter scrum which was pushed over the line.
Minutes later Harlequins opened up Saracens with an amazing run of play, but world class defending from Harrison forced a knock on despite the ball already being over the whitewash.
Alex Austerberry’s side powered their way up to the five metre line before Campbell continued her scoring form with a converted try from a metre out.
Evans was then shown a yellow card but Sarries showed their class as they held up Abbie Ward to regain possession.
Harlequins scrum-half Leanne Riley’s show and go created a gap that she was happy to exploit and she scored under the posts.
Moments later, Alysha Corrigan hit an excellent hard line, but she was brought down around the 22 metre mark and Sarries were penalised shortly after.
Hopes of a comeback were fading, but Saracens won a penalty in the last play of the game which Harrison kicked and the scores were level at 17-17 as the referee blew the final whistle.