Last Sunday, supporters braved the cold to watch Richmond defeat Lichfield on home turf, adding to their run of successive victories.
In the opening exchanges, both teams remained fairly even as they were trying to gel new combinations. The Richmond team included five new players in the starting pack and both sides welcomed back players from international duty.
Despite some impressive play from Richmond, including a kick from Jackie Shiels deep into Lichfield territory, which was collected by Holly Myers on the run, the score remained 0-0.
Lichfield were determined to cause an upset and continually pushed back attacks from Richmond, but England prop Vik Cornborough was able to break through several defenders and gain good meters, proving that props can possess speed and footwork, as well as brute strength. She offloaded to Emma Croker in support, who was hauled down just short of the line.
Richmond battled to maintain their territorial advantage. Lichfield attempted to kick their way out of the half, but Croker gets under the high the ball and tips it on to Leanne Riley, who uses her electric pace to her team right back up to the try line.
The field position isn’t wasted and the forwards power together over the line to score in the corner, drawing first blood 30 minutes into the game.
Richmond’s first try seems to offer them confidence, and within several minutes, they find themselves back within Litchfield’s danger zone. Laura Kapo takes the ball off a well executed line out move 15 metres out and she cannonballs over the try line in her trademark style, bringing the score to 10-0.
The first half was littered with Lichfield penalties and they soon found themselves reduced to 14 when the ref punished them for repeat infringements in their own 22. No sooner had the first sin binning happened, they were then down to just 13 for continued penalty offences.
Richmond looked to exploit their player advantage and attacked immediately from the restart through Kapo. On another brilliant run, Kapo offloaded to Riley, who brings them into Litchfield’s 22 yet again. In the last few minutes of the half, Richmond almost scored twice, but a determined Lichfield defence stopped both times short.
In the second half, Lichfield regrouped and came back at Richmond strongly. They get their first points on the scoreboard through pace and power from the backline. The conversion was missed, 10-5.
Richmond come back with a vengeance, and it didn’t take them long to re-emphasise their lead. A strong carry from flanker Sam Voyle provided quick ball out to Captain Shiels who leads by example for her team, successfully scoring the try under the posts and converting.
A resolute Lichfield build the phases and work their way back up to within scoring distance in the try line. Some quick thinking from their scrum half sees them earn their second try of the game as she snipes through a gap next to the ruck.
Richmond respond through number 8 Davinia Monteiro, who in her first game back from injury, picked up from where she left off with her snaking, powerful runs, and crossed the whitewash for another try to make the score 22-10.
Lichfield continued to chase the game and apply pressure. A fantastic line, followed by fast feet, allowed Lichfield to decrease Richmond’s lead for a third time to 22-17, making for a tense last 15 minutes of the game.
But the power of the Richmond pack sees them through to the end of the game. A catch and drive from the lineout, which was working well for them all day, earned them another try which was converted by fullback Abi Chamberlain.
But Lichfield weren’t done yet and Amy Cokayne was almost able to run her team out of danger, only to be halted by a fantastic cover tackle from Vik Cornborough who pushed her into touch.
The final score was 29-17, maintaining Richmond’s spot at the top of the table.
Next Sunday Richmond play Saracens in a crunch match at home, where Richmond will be gunning to make it a double win over their north London rivals.
|22/11/2015||2:00 pm||Women's Premiership||2015-16|