Saracens were made to battle as they maintained their perfect Tyrrells Premier 15 record with a 39-31 triumph over Loughborough Lightning at Allianz Park, writes Harry Gray.
The result was in doubt until the final moments of the game before a driving maul saw the home side touch down in the corner and seal a tenth league win on the spin.
With Lightning sitting third in the table at kick-off, it was always likely to be a testing afternoon for Saracens but they were in the ascendancy in the first half.
Tries from Alex Ellis, Zoe Harrison and a May Campbell double gave Sarries a commanding 24-7 lead at the interval, but Lightning were a different side in the second period and were within three points of their title chasing opponents before Mackenzie Carson’s late score settled the win for the hosts.
The result briefly took Saracens to the summit of the table before Harlequins came from behind to overcome Gloucester-Hartpury 29-17 in an entertaining clash.
Gloucester were the better side in the first half and a resolute defensive effort allowed them to take a 10-7 lead into the break.
However, Quins found their feet early in the second period and were ahead when Jade Konkel went over in the 44th minute.
From there the visitors didn’t look back and a further 17 unanswered points put them 29-10 clear as the game approached its close.
There was still time for Gloucester to go over for their second try of the game, but it mattered little as Quins helped themselves to a bonus-point win.
Wasps were in dominant mood as they brushed aside DMP Sharks to record a commanding 45-7 victory.
The hosts never looked like losing from the moment Abby Dowberg scrambled over the whitewash to give them the lead after 10 minutes.
Four more tries, two from Hannah West and one each for Isabel Rico Vazquez and Harriet Millar-Mills, before the half-time break killed the game as any sort of a contest and Wasps’ intensity understandably dropped after the break.
They were still able to touch down twice more before the full-time whistle, while Sharks managed to add a consolation score through Beth Blacklock.
Meanwhile, Bristol Bears were in fluent form as they hammered Firwood Waterloo 48-0 to claim a much-needed win after a run of four defeats on the spin.
The rampant Bears ran in eight tries as they put a Waterloo side sitting rock bottom of the table to the sword in emphatic fashion.
Phoebe Murray spearheaded the free-flowing Bristol display as she scored a hat-trick, touching down for the third time in the afternoon just after the hour mark.
Elsewhere, eighth-place Richmond were on their travels as they lost 24-17 to Worcester Warriors.
After Fi McIntosh gave them an early 7-0 lead, Richmond were unable to maintain their performance levels and saw Warriors pull into a 19-7 advantage.
A Sophie Pascal try reduced the deficit before Warriors looked to have settled matters through Lydia Thompson’s late score.
There was still time, though, for Lindsey Mayo to go over and set up a tight finish, but Warriors held on for the win.