LONDON Welsh’s Aviva Premiership annus horribilis was brought to a close with a heavy 68-17 home defeat to Saracens at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium on Saturday.

Chris Ashton helped himself to four tries as the visitors crossed ten times.

Matt Corker was sin-binned just four minutes in and the visitors capitalised when Billy Vunipola was driven over.

England fly half Owen Farrell landed the first of his nine successful conversions.

Welsh responded well and levelled when captain Tom May beat several challenges before offloading for Nic Reynolds to score, with Chris Elder adding the extras.

David Strettle restored Saracens’ lead and the visitors opened up an 11-point advantage when Mako Vunipola scored try No 3.

Elder converted his own try for Welsh, but Ashton went over just before half-time.

The second-half proved a one-sided affair.

Ashton (3), Alex Goode, Juan Figallo and Charlie Hodgson all added further points as Saracens set up an away trip to leaders Northampton in the play-off semi-finals next week.