Coming into the match riding high off the back of their league clinching win in their previous game, the Saints wasted no time in getting themselves onto the scoreboard, Beth Saunders raced around the scrambling Lichfield defence after a fantastic high ball and regather from Steph Plunkett to take the home side into a 5-0 lead.
Lichfield responded with a penalty to reduce the deficit. The home sides’ response was swift as they punished a loose clearing kick by shifting the ball across the pitch to allow the electric Claire Mckenna to evade the chasing defenders to increase the lead to 10-3. Shortly thereafter, Mckenna made Lichfield pay once again after another clearing kick by slicing through the defence and outpacing the opposition to further the Saints’ lead to 17-3 after just 15 minutes.
The visitors rallied and set up field position in the Saints half. Sustained periods of possession lead to penalties won. Despite the resolute defence and ferocious tackling from the blue wall, a fortuitous bounce allowed the away side to register their first try of the day on the stroke of half time to bring them back into the game, 17-10 at the break.
The second half started in a similar fashion to the first with an early Saints score. Looking to re-establish a comfortable lead, the home side pressured the Lichfield defence right from the kick-off after securing a turnover deep in the opposition half. The ball was shipped wide to Plunkett who found herself isolated. Undeterred, the fluent centre jinked and jived her way through 4 defenders to cross the line for a fantastic score to extend the lead once again to 22-10.
Lichfield held onto possession and territory for the majority of the remaining game time, swinging the play from touchline to touchline. The blue wall would not be breached before the Saints secured another score as their dominant forwards powered their way down the pitch leading to second-row Megan Murphy dotting down to secure the bonus point.
Lichfield scored a try late in the game to bring the final score to 27-15.
Forwards coach Harry Mack commented: ‘We wanted to make a statement as we began our cup campaign and we achieved that today. The girls were full of confidence coming into today’s fixture and that showed on the pitch as we played with real physicality and accuracy. Today’s win puts us into a fantastic position before we travel to Cheltenham, I can’t wait to see them perform next week.’
The Saints will travel to Cheltenham Tigers next week looking to build upon on their impressive performances.
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There are no previous fixtures between these teams.