T-Birds 23 v 20 Richmond
I think it’s indisputable that the once mighty Richmond Ladies are no longer quite the force within Women’s Rugby that they were, but it was still going to be a tough ask for Championship Thurrock to play Premiership Richmond. Undeterred, the T-Birds went out and gave it a lash.
To everyone’s surprise within 5 minutes Ts were ahead on the scoreboard as Captain Georgie Cook took a quick tap and forced her way over the line.
This seemed to wake Richmond up and over the next 30 minutes they steadily pulled away with 3 unconverted scores.
T’s Scrum was on top, but the Richmond backline looked sharp and sassy, repeatedly finding room around the outside of the T’s defence.
At 5-15 down and the half drawing to a close, recent T-bird signing Siobhan Longdon–Hughes (Queenie), smashed a hole in the Richmond midfield defence and pulled one back for a respectable 10-15.
While Ts were still celebrating and looking for half time, Richmond’s Laura Kapo ran the same line, this time through T’s defence to end the half 10-20.
Early Richmond substitutions shored up their scrum and created an almost unstoppable maul, but crucially lost them something around the park and T’s forwards began to take control of the breakdown, finally managing a few crucial turnovers.
15 minutes in, the new high tackle interpretation saw Kara Hepper taking a 10 minutes rest. Crucially in the period, Richmond were unable to score against 14 and Cook kicked a penalty to bring Thurrock back within 7.
The intelligent kicking from Rettie started to push Richmond back in their own half and pressure at the breakdown saw them start to concede penalties.
Thurrock were definitely on top but were denied scores by a double movement and a “held up over the line”. The referee called play back and carded the Richmond hooker for another high tackle. From the penalty Ts went immediately wide and Sally “Typhoon” Tuson scored in the corner.
Crucially the kick from out wide missed, to leave Ts short by just 2 points at 18-20.
Now in the dying minutes, streetwise Richmond were really under the cosh and doing everything possible to run down the clock as Ts threw everything at them. From her own 22 Queenie smashed through the Richmond defence and got to within 5 meters of the tryline with 3 players hanging off her. At the resulting ruck, a Richmond player cynically came in at the side, killed the ball and was immediately carded.
Once again going wide from the penalty, Tuson did it again to score almost in the same spot and put Ts in the lead 23-20.
With 2 minutes to play, it was T’s turn to run down the clock and with last play called at a Thurrock scrum, the ball was quickly in the stand for a memorable win.
Team :-Hepper, Duffy, Nichols, Franklin, Baker, Prosser, Lockwood, Jordan.S , Cook.G (Capt)(TP), Rettie, Parsad, Longdon-Hughes (T), Tyler, Smith, Tuson (2T) Rep:-Picton.L, Picton.P, Cook.R, Edwards (27), Lawther (37)
The T-Birds will now play 2 more cup games, away at Wasps on 5th Feb and away at Lichfield on 19th Feb, before returning to Oakfield for the last game of the League on 5th March.
As always, Thurrock Ladies, the T-Birds, welcome new players of any standard to their 2 teams.
No matter how big or small, there is a place for you in a Rugby Team. Many are beginners, playing in their first Season, so don’t be put off if you are new to the game.
We can promise you great training and a great social life. Just turn up on a Wednesday evening at 7.30.