While there were just two Allianz Premier 15s fixtures to savour this weekend, there was no shortage of the usual thrills and spills as Gloucester-Hartpury and league leaders Saracens roared to heavy wins.
Poppy Cleall was the star of the show as Saracens reaffirmed their title intentions, with the England international contributing a 20-minute hat-trick to inspire the two-time champions to a 47-18 victory over Sale Sharks on Sunday.
After Cleall opened the scoring at the StoneX Stadium, Tamara Taylor got on the board to give Sarries a commanding lead in the early stages.
Katy Daley-McLean kicked Sale’s first points of the afternoon from the tee to reduce the deficit, but a quick-fire double from Cleall completed her trio of scores and presented an uphill task to the visitors.
The Sharks refused to give up despite the 26-3 scoreline and Daley-McLean notched her second penalty of the day before quick thinking from Jess Roberts saw her crash over underneath the posts.
Saracens quelled any threat of a Sale comeback quickly after half-time with Emma Uren and May Campbell both going over, though the Sharks did hit back through Lauren Delany’s smart kick-and-chase effort.
With little under 20 minutes to go there was still time for Sarries replacement hooker Mackenzie Carson to put gloss on the scoreline, and put the victory beyond all doubt.
On Saturday, Gloucester-Hartpury helped themselves to 12 tries as they ran riot 74-7 at home to bottom side DMP Durham Sharks, with both Sophie Tandy and Ellie Underwood notching hat-tricks.
Tandy opened the scoring at the ALPAS Arena inside 90 seconds, and further scores from Daisy Fahey, Emma Sing and Rachel Lund secured the bonus point with only 12 minutes gone.
Millie Wood latched onto Fahey’s deft kick before going over for try No.5, and Underwood’s first of the day and a second from Tandy made it 45-0 at the break.
Gloucester picked up where they left off in the second half and Tandy completed her hat-trick after Sing dotted down soon after the restart. Wood then got her second, but the Sharks did eventually get on the scoresheet through Amy Layzell.
The home side were to have the last say of the afternoon though, and two quick-fire tries from Underwood brought up her hat-trick, while finishing off a handsome seventh win of the season for Gloucester-Hartpury.