(Above: Siwan Lillicrap stretches over for the bonus point try)
- Swansea WRFC vs Caernarfon WRFC at St Helen's
- Second-half blitzes 'The Cofis'
- Bonus point returns 'Whites' to top of table
Swansea RFC Women's team returned to the top of the Premier League after yesterday's impressive win at St Helen's over their nearest rivals Caernarfon WRFC.
Saturday's home tie with Caernarfon was always going to be a testing encounter and so it proved to be. An early infringement allowed Beth Preece to get 'The Whites' on the board with a straight forward penalty. But Caernarfon were able to establish themselves inside the home 22 and good recycling produced the overlap to allow the opening try for the visitors. It was just reward for a constant period of pressure. The try went unconverted, which would be regretted by 'The Cofis' as the match progressed.
Caernarfon continued to dominate territory and it was with some relief that 'The Whites' were able to turn the ball over from a ruck and work it through hands back toward the visitors goal line. The early pattern of Caernarfon forward play and fast three-quarter counter attacking was established. Swansea got their reward when outside-half Preece cleverly put back row Robyn Lock in between the stretched defence for a stroll in under the posts. Preece made no mistake from in front of goal for a 10 - 5 lead against the run of play. But it was Caernarfon who scored next as the visitors, encamped on the Swansea line, finally forced a gap. The try was out wide at the City End but a good conversion attempt bounced back off the posts.
Half-time 10 - 10
With the prospect of a close second-half and close finish reminding Swansea of the narrow three point win over Caernarfon in last season's cup final, Siwan Lillicrap led her side by example in an up tempo start after the break. With full-back Adi Taviner coming into the attacking move, the ball was worked quickly to the corner and Lillicrap powered over for Swansea's second try. The conversion attempt from out wide fell just short.
Swansea maintained the tempo as the momentum shifted in their favour. Swansea's forwards were now breaking the line regularly, Lillicrap, Lucy Jones and Natalia John prominent with powerful runs, drawing in the defence. With the centres linking up well, Swansea made repeated sorties into the Caernarfon 22. When the ball was lost 'The Cofis' were hemmed in and could not regain the field position they enjoyed in the first half. Pressure told and quick hands from Preece to Donovan sent speedster Ffion Bowen over for an unconverted try,
With the game going away from them Caernarfon were still able to grab a lifeline half way through the second half with a move that saw them travel the length of the pitch to score out wide at the Mumbles end. The conversion attempt was always a difficult one but a great effort saw it hit the crossbar, only to bounce the wrong way for 'The Cofis'. 20 - 10 to Swansea.
Late pressure from the visitors saw Swansea back in their own 22 but a tremendous break out by Lucy Jones brought play back to the City End as Lillicrap expoited the ragged defensive line, making further inroads. Scrum-half Rhian Perry cleverly spotted the overlap and changed the direction of attack to allow Lillicrap, though tackled just short, to dive over for the bonus point try. Beth Preece's conversion attempt slapped straight into the crossbar but, as if to underline that it was Swansea's day, it dropped nicely over for a 27 - 15 lead that Siwan's girls held on to till the final whistle.
The win puts them a point clear of Caernarfon with a game in hand. next Sunday they travel to Whitland to try and reinforce that position.