Worcester Ladies and Richmond produced an exciting game at Weston’s, despite both sides losing players to international abstractions. The home side certainly competed on equal terms until the 60th minute and before entering the final quarter it was anyone’s guess as to the outcome.
The visitors started strongly using the power of Elisa Dee and Sam McCarthy as battering rams against the, by comparison, diminutive half backs of the home side, but turnovers and spilled ball saw the play move between the 22’s without seemingly any great threat of a score. However, on 11 minutes, Jade Wong evaded two tackles, then offloaded to her pack who drove over the line, but the Worcester defence worked hard to hold the ball up. The resulting 5m scrum saw the home side ferociously pushed back and a penalty try was awarded, Jackie Shields taking the extras.
Undaunted, Worcester came straight back and a combination of excellent passes between the backs released Rachel Lund to outpace and evade three defenders to score, Bianca Blackburn took the extras, and game on once more.
For the remainder of the half both teams played entertaining and physical rugby, with attacks being thwarted by determined defences.
At the half time break Worcester must have thought they had a real opportunity to inflict the first defeat of the season on the league leaders, however, some wayward passing and lack of support at critical moments saw several scoring opportunities wasted. Richmond then showed just why they are heading the league, having weathered a storm, they took control in the final quarter. Captain Jackie Shields, who played for Ireland on the previous day, broke the defence to score under the posts, also took the extras. At this stage Worcester started to struggle to contain the visitors and ten minutes from time Alicia McComish effectively sealed the result for Richmond, scoring after sustained pressure, with Shields again successful with the boot.
Jackie Shields showed no evidence of fatigue despite playing demanding games on consecutive days and was Richmond’s outstanding performer. For Worcester, young Rhiannon Donnahey continues to impress, Rachel Lund’s powerful and evasive running was always a threat, but she needed more support. There was an encouraging debut in the front row from Ammie Lensson.
Worcester should not really be happy with the losing bonus point as this was clearly an opportunity to inflict an unexpected defeat of the league leaders.
Next Sunday they make the long journey to Aylesford Bulls and expect to have wingers Lydia Thompson and Samantha Bree back after long term injury, along with their missing internationals from this weekend, so will be looking to return with a winning bonus point.
Worcester would like to thank the supporters who turned out on not the most pleasant of afternoons, but at least they were rewarded with entertaining rugby.
Report by David Guest 1st XV Manager
Photo of Kelly Smith from AJB Photographic