Jo Bucknall came off the bench to score a hat-trick of tries, as Windermere Warriors emphatically returned to winning ways by hammering Fleetwood 66-7 on their own patch last Sunday.

The Warriors ran in ten tries in total, as they remained top of the RFU Women’s NC Lancashire Merit League, following a match played in calm and sunny conditions that were perfect for running rugby.

Both squads included ladies who were new to the game, with Windermere including three debutants in their side, yet they quickly got into their stride.

It took just five minutes for their first try to arrive, as the ball was worked along the line for Charlotte Jarvis, who slipped through a tackle before sprinting into the corner.

Jarvis, along with teammate Vicki Stainton, kindly spent part of the second half playing for Fleetwood, after the hosts’ numbers dropped.

The Warriors regained possession almost straight from the restart, with the ball moved to Lucy Branthwaite, who spotted a gap in midfield and sped towards the posts from halfway.

Hooker Imogen Whetton then forced her way over for the visitors third try, before Fleetwood claimed their only score of the match after pressing the Windermere defence hard, with their No.8 getting the ball down.

The Warriors still managed to seal the bonus point before half-time through a second try for Branthwaite, who also kicked eight conversions to finish with 26 points.

Openside Bucknall, who was returning from a five-week injury lay-off, came off the bench for the second half and struck within ten minutes before claiming her second after some neat interplay with captain Holly Yates.

Fleetwood were now tiring under the pressure Windermere were putting them under, with Laura Stephenson’s superb run being thwarted five metres out, only for Bucknall to collect and complete her treble.

Yates then broke through the widening spaces, shaking off would-be tacklers before timing her pass for Kerri Jackson to score before Stephenson claimed the try her efforts deserved.

Katie Edgar, who gave a bright and energetic performance from scrum-half, then finished the rout in the closing stages.