There were dramatic wins for players from the Army Men’s and Women’s teams this weekend, with SSgt Sarah Mitchelson (RLC) and LCpl Semesa Rokoduguni (Scots DG) both coming out on the right side of their respective results.
SSgt Mitchelson’s Wasps secured just their second ever win over Saracens in the Premier 15s in a nail-biting clash at Twyford Avenue on Saturday.
Anything one side could do on the scoreboard, so could the other, and while Wasps took an early lead it was a Saracens try late in the first half which saw them head into the break one point up.
Further scores from Saracens gave them some space, but Wasps pulled them back to take the two-point lead 10 minutes from time which they would retain until the full-time whistle, running out 26-24 victors.
Sunday’s Premiership clash featuring LCpl Rokoduguni was just as tense.
His Bath team had gone to Northampton on the back of two wins, but when the Saints came flying out of the blocks to go 19-3 up in the opening 20 minutes it looked like it would be the home team’s winning streak which would be continuing for another week.
But Bath scored a converted try on the stroke of half-time, and took that momentum into the second half, scoring another try, winning the penalties for Rhys Priestland to set a new Premiership record for the most consecutive successful kicks at goal, and withstood a number of gilt edged chances at the other end of the field to head home with a 23-22 win.
Wasps’ win over Saracens opened the door for Harlequins to close the gap at the top of the Premier 15s table. And they did this in some style, overcoming Sale Sharks 45-5 at Heywood Road, with Capt Alexandra Eddie (QARANC), Bdr Bethan Dainton (Royal Artillery) and Sgt Jade Mullen (AGC (SPS)) all coming off the bench in the second half.
There is now just one point separating Harlequins from Saracens at the top of the Premier 15s table, although Loughborough and Wasps are still well in the hunt.
There was an equally comprehensive scoreline in the final Premier 15s match to have Army interest. Unfortunately for Capt Gemma Rowland (Royal Artillery), her Bristol debut was somewhat inauspicious, the Bears being comfortably beaten 36-0 by Gloucester-Hartpury.
On the Men’s side of the Bristol club Pte Ratu ‘Siva’ Naulago (Yorks) got back to winning ways with his teammates at home to Leicester.
Exeter’s loss at Sale on Friday night meant that Bristol could re-open the gap at the top of the Premiership table with a victory against the Tigers. While the visitors to Ashton Gate stayed in contact for most of the first half, two tries in five minutes put the Bears firmly in charge, which is how it stayed throughout the second 40, Bristol taking the points with a 17-3 success.
In the Championship warm-ups there were losses for both Gunner Senitiki Nayalo (7 Para RHA) and Cpl Lewis Bean (Rifles), who started for Coventry and Bedford respectively.
A late flurry of tries from Saracens’ Alex Lewington sealed their win over Coventry on Friday night, while Bedford went down at home to Ampthill on Saturday.
These two players may be finding themselves going head-to-head next weekend, with Coventry hosting Bedford in the opening round of league fixtures.
Words © Chris Wearmouth, Header and Featured Image © Neil Kennedy