Fourth Premiership title in five years for Richmond

Wimbledon Guardian: Try time: England number eight Becky Essex Try time: England number eight Becky Essex

A 13-try blitz led by England number eight Becky Essex and centre Jo Watmore saw Richmond win the Women’s Premiership title in style on Wednesday.

Essex and Watmore both scored hat-tricks and prop Ellisha Dee notched a brace as the Athletic Ground women beat an understrength Bristol 75-0 at Newbury RFC to lift their fourth title in five seasons.

It was a fitting end to a fine campaign for head coach Karen Findlay’s team who have topped the table since the second weekend of the season when they managed a 26-12 win over last year’s champions Worcester.

Richmond suffered their only defeat to runners-up Saracens – who finished only a point behind the winners – in October, but avenged that reverse just before Christmas and never looked back with successes over Wasps, Darlington Mowden Park Ladies and Bristol in January sealing their triumph.

Findlay hailed her squad’s teamwork and pointed to the graduation of second team players to the first team ranks as a key part of her team’s success.

The unusually early end to the Premiership allows the Richmond’s 14 internationals to focus on the forthcoming Six Nations competition, while those remaining continue the club’s cup campaign at Wasps next Sunday.

Meanwhile, Richmond’s men, who now have two games in hand on their relegation rivals, saw their crunch trip to Cinderford postponed last Saturday ahead of tomorrow’s trip to league leaders Doncaster Knights.

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