Welwyn stars to the fore as Saracens clinch top spot with last-gasp Loughborough win
PUBLISHED: 13:15 24 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:15 24 March 2019
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Hannah Botterman’s last-minute try sparked wild delight for Saracens as their 31-28 win at Loughborough Lightning earned them top spot in the Tyrrells Premier 15s League.
The former Datchworth and Welwyn player was on the end of a series of pick and goes in the dying seconds meaning they have booked a home semi-final for the play-offs.
Welwyn were actually front and centre in the victory with skipper Lotte Clapp and Zoe Harrison, both of whom also made their way through the prolific production line at the Hobbs Way club, also among the scorers.
Clapp added two tries while Harrison kicked three conversions.
Twins Bryony and Poppy Cleall, another pair fresh from England’s grand slam success in the Six Nations, added the other scores for the Allianz Park side.
Saracens controlled large parts of the first half and were 19-0 up after a little more than 30 minutes thanks to tries by Bryony Cleall and Clapp’s double.
Two of them were converted by Harrison but Loughborough were allowed a way back into the game after a yellow card to Cleall with the victorious England captain Sarah Hunter bagging a try for the hosts.
But despite being a player down, Saracens were next to score with Poppy Cleall adding an unconverted score.
The hosts, however, started to take control and they capitalised on mistakes by the visitors with two tries in eight minutes, Olivia Jones and Dalaeka Melin both crossing the whitewash.
It left them three behind with 15 minutes to go and after sustained pressure they looked as if they had snatched the win with three minutes remaining following Sarah Bonar’s try, close enough to the posts to bring the conversion.
But a clever kick-off from Harrison put the Women in Black in good field position and after a penalty awarded against the Lightning, a kick to touch set-up the dramatic finale.
The regular season closes on Saturday at Allianz Park following the men’s Heineken Champions Cup clash with Glasgow Warriors.
Firwood Waterloo provide the opposition with the kick-off at 5.50pm.