Bristol Bears pulled off a magnificent come from behind win over Gloucester-Hartpury, running out 24-17 winners in round two of the Allianz Premier 15s.
A penalty on 11 minutes from Emma Sing, coupled with a Connie Powell try five minutes later – converted by Sing – put Gloucester-Hartpury 10-0 up early on.
Bristol did come close to touching down through Welsh second row Natalia John, but the forward was held up on the line to hand Gloucester-Hartpury a reprieve.
And for all their gusto and effort, Dave Ward’s Bristol could not breakthrough the opposition defence.
After half time, centre Phoebe Murray’s try handed Bristol a route back into the game on 52 minutes, with Wales international Elinor Snowsill adding the extras to make it 10-7.
Murray’s try seemed to breathe life into the game, with Gloucester-Hartpury replying with a length of the field score that saw England international Kelly Smith dot down while Sing added the extras.
At 17-7 with just over 13 minutes left, things were looking bleak for Bristol.
But they managed to pull off their impressive comeback courtesy of scores from Hannah West, a second for Murray and Rownita Marston, whose converted try saw the Bears run out 24-17 winners.
Away from the action in the south west, last year’s beaten finalists Saracens were rampant against DMP Durham Sharks as they secured a 77-5 away victory.
Running in 13 tries from 11 different scorers, Saracens were in cruise control from the off, taking a 39-0 lead into the break thanks to a braces from Charlotte Clapp and Katherine Evans and individual scores from Holly Aitchison, Marlie Packer and Zoe Harrison.
While Durham did manage a score of their own thanks to Trudy Cowan, the tries continued to rain down upon them after the break, with Saracens running in another six tries to seal an emphatic win at the Northern Echo Arena.
Worcester Warriors and defending champions Harlequins combined for a whopping 97 points in a game that saw the latter run out 66-31 winners at Sixways.
Quins got off to the perfect start thanks to tries from Heather Cowell and Ellie Kildunne after just 10 minutes, both of which were converted by Ellie Green.
Worcester did manage to respond with two tries of their own through Alycia Washington and Carys Phillips to make the score 14-10 after 20 minutes.
And when the two went in at half time, the game was in the balance with Harlequins leading 21-17.
However, after the break Harlequins began their onslaught, running seven tries past Worcester in the second half – which included Kildunne sealing her hat-trick on 75 minutes.
While Worcester touched down with scores from Jemima Moss and Ffion Lewis late on, they were unable to match the defending champions’ intensity as they succumbed to a 66-31 loss.
Exeter Chiefs proved too strong for Sale Sharks as they managed a comfortable 54-0 win at Sandy Park.
Exeter were in control from the off, with first-half scores from Olivia Jones, Kanako Kobayashi, Kate Zackary, Daleaka Menin and McKinley Hunt putting them up 33-0 at the break.
And after the interval, the Chiefs did not let up, adding another three scores through Ebony Jefferies, Jennine Duncan and a second for Hunt to push their already commanding lead out further – with the contest finishing 54-0 to the home team.
Wasps managed to put the memories of their narrow defeat to Saracens last weekend to bed with an impressive shut-out 29-0 win over Loughborough Lightning.
Then on 13 minutes they extended their lead further thanks to winger Eleanor Boatman who raced over for their second try of the afternoon after being put away by Amy Wilson-Hardy – giving them a 10-0 lead.
Loughborough’s afternoon got worse after the break when Wasps winger Abbie Dow touched down minutes into the second half, with Florence Williams adding the extra.
And tries from Claudia MacDonald and Heather Kerr rounded off proceedings for Wasps to secure an impressive away win.