Wasps 0 Saracens 5 .
SARACENS scored after five minutes to set a challenging pace in the women's Bread for Life National Cup final, but desperation and drizzle settled over The Stoop in equal measure and the result remained in doubt until the end.
Mistakes ruled and Saracens were fortunate to have the resilient Emma Mitchell in such commanding form. Mitchell produced the only try with a combination of pace and strength off a scrum and it is no surprise that Saracens rated her good enough to play in their second team a couple of years ago - the men's second team, that is.
Wasps would have recognised the threat which Mitchell presented at scrum-half, but when she set off on her decisive run, dipping the shoulders, maintaining speed and balance, it was class at work. The pity was that it was never fully expressed again as Saracens won the Cup for a record fifth time.
Saracens controlled 90% of the first half but made so many mistakes that they were responsible for most of the 25 scrums. Only Mitchell look capable of better things but was caught in the tide of errors which ruined the match as a spectacle.
Wasps put the ball to their wings only twice - once in the Saracens' half - and must have realised at half-time that with a modicum of belief and an increase in pace they could turn the game.
Wasps tried, but their efforts were wasted. Paula George put in a long attack from full-back only for Cheryl Stennett to drop her pass on the Saracens 22 and No 8 Jenny Chambers was also frustrated after driving through.
The final started with 14 of the England squad who will defend the World Cup in Amsterdam next month after losing to both New Zealand and Scotland in the last eight months. England, like Saracens, will have to depend on Mitchell's continued good health if they are to stand any chance of holding on to their crown.
Saracens: M Cave; J Edwards, T Collins, A de Base, E Green; S Appleby, E Mitchell (capt); M Edwards, N Ponsford, T O'Reilly (P Ramsey 61min), L Burgess, C Green, J Ross, H Clayton, C Frost.
Wasps: P George; C Stennett, R Williams, B Lloyd, S Day; G Pragnell, H Harding (N Alcock 74min); J Smith, J Potter (capt), A Parsons (V Huxford 36min), L Uttley, M Myles (O Lacey 61min), E Vermeulen (B Slee 40min), C Mulalley, J Chambers.
Scorers: Saracens. Try: Mitchell.
Referee: D Matthews (Liverpool).
Copyright (C) The Sunday Times, 1998
Parsons, David. "Classy Mitchell lightens gloom; Women's rugby." Sunday Times [London, England] 19 Apr. 1998