Marlie Packer stole the show as her hat-trick steered Saracens to a thrilling 33-27 comeback victory against Harlequins at the Stoop.
Quins, who had won all eight of their previous Tyrrells Premier 15s fixtures, looked certain to clinch a ninth victory when they went in 24-7 at the break but a typically brilliant display from Saracens and England flanker Packer consigned Gary Street’s side to their first loss of the season as their London rivals go top.
It didn’t take long for Quins to get off the mark, Shaunagh Brown powering through after just five minutes before Rachael Burford, Anna Caplice and Chloe Rollie joined in to wrap up the bonus point as the hosts went in 24-7 up at the break.
Packer dotted down just before half-time to give Saracens a lifeline going into the second period and it turned out that her effort was the motivation the visitors so desperately needed, Rochelle Clark going over on 50 minutes to reduce the deficit to 24-14.
It was very much a tale of two halves as Saracens continued to capitalise on their dominance, Packer dotting down for her second on the hour-mark before completing her hat-trick with a scintillating third, stunning the Stoop into silence as Quins slowed to their first defeat of the season.
Meanwhile, Katy Daley-Mclean scored twice as Loughborough Lightning defeated their play-off rivals Gloucester-Hartpury 36-17 away from home.
Ellie Underwood got the Cherry and Whites off to the perfect start by dotting down in the first minute, but her score was quickly cancelled out by England’s Daley-Mclean.
But it was Gloucester who were in the lead at the break thanks to efforts from Ti Tauasosi and Natasha Hunt.
However the hosts’ fun didn’t last long. Daley-Mclean put Lightning back ahead within five second-half minutes before Rhona Lloyd scored two late tries to seal the win for the visitors.
The result means Loughborough Lightning leapfrog Gloucester into third.
Worcester Warriors edged away from the bottom of the table after beating Firwood Waterloo 64-19 at home.
A win never looked in doubt for the Warriors who were 38-5 up at half-time thanks to tries from Vicky Laflin, Taz Bricknell, Akina Gondwe, Laura Keates and England’s Lydia Thompson.
Laflin added another early in the second-half before Vicky Foxwell, Jasmine Joyce and substitute Zoe Heeley crossed to wrap up a much-need win for the home side.
Elsewhere, DMP Sharks picked up their fourth win of the season with a 17-10 victory over mid-table rivals Bristol Bears.
The last fixture of the weekend will be played on Sunday, with Richmond looking to get their second win of the season at home to Wasps.