Windermere Warriors moved to the top of the RFU Women’s NC Lancashire Merit League after defeating Leyland Warriors 35-15 last Sunday.

Windermere have won all three of their games so far this season after Lucy Branthwaite scored a hat-trick as part of a magnificent first-half performance at Dawes Meadow.

Holly Yates opened the scoring from the hosts’ first venture into the Leyland half, with Branthwaite adding the conversion.

Some great pressure from the Warriors then led to Yates grabbing her second through a searing run through the visitors’ defence in their 22.

Branthwaite again converted before Leyland gave themselves a foothold when a big spell of pressure from their forwards led to them scoring an unconverted try.

Windermere’s response was swift with Branthwaite converting her own try to open up a 21-5 lead after her side had gone through several passages of play.

Branthwaite’s pace then allowed her to score her second when she kicked ahead into space and ate up the ground on her opponents to touch down under the posts.

She then rounded off a stunning first half for the high-flying Warriors by completing her hat-trick in rounding off another swift move, with her conversion giving Windermere a 35-5 half-time lead and herself a haul of 25 points.

Despite being so far behind, Leyland showed a lot of character in the second half and quickly pulled back five points after the restart to reward a bright opening.

As Windermere made changes in personnel with their replacements, the visitors took advantage by scoring their third try.

The hosts then had to defend to prevent Leyland from closing the gap even further, keeping their opponents from their try line through a succession of phases.