Source: Richmond Ladies RFC

Richmond Reclaim Premiership Title

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This Sunday marked the first Premiership play-off final in women’s rugby, which was held at the Stoop between ancient rivals Richmond and Saracens. Fans at the stadium, along with those watching live on Sky Sports, were treated to women’s rugby at its finest, before Richmond lifted the trophy as champions for a record breaking ninth time.

Richmond came out of the blocks firing, startling the Saracens team.  The forwards gained an early upper hand in the set piece and after being awarded three penalties in a row, they decided to go for the lineout each time. Five minutes in, Richmond had the perfect start and got first points on the board when the pack mauled over the try line for hooker Emma Croker to touch down. 5-0

Saracens then found themselves down to 14 players as their prop was shown a yellow card, and immediately Richmond took their advantage and forced Saracens back over the halfway line. A successful scrum, coupled with a well-timed kick, quickly put them back into a position of power. Ten minutes in, captain Jackie Shiels found space to score in the corner. 10-0

Saracens came back fighting, and several minutes later they almost scored through a maul of their own, but some resolute Richmond defence held them up.

Saracens were beginning to get a foothold in the game and their pacey back line was starting to look dangerous. They had the opportunity to kick for points when they were awarded the penalty but Cattell’s kick missed.

It was then Richmond’s turn for a spot of indiscipline as Captain Shiels was send to the sin bin for a deemed deliberate knock on in a tackle. Saracens’ Cattell made the most of the player advantage in the backline and sliced through a gap to get the try.  She narrowly missed the conversion, with the ball bouncing off the posts. 10-5

Richmond’s forwards responded by powering their way straight back down the field. After a series of smashing pick and goes, the pack pounded away at the try line and number 8 Anna Caplice squeezed over for the try. 15-5

Just minutes after the next restart, runs from Ellisha Dee, Anna Caplice and Vic Cornborough helped to put Richmond back into the Saracens’ half. Winger Holly Myers, coming from nowhere at lightning speed, intercepted a pass and scored the 4th try in the first half underneath the posts. Jackie Shiels converted, making the score 22-5 at half time.

Saracens came out strong and determined in the second half, playing their way deep into Richmond territory. Myers and Oli Davies reclaimed ground for Richmond however, with two long runs. For a while Richmond looked dangerous again, but could not keep the ball for long enough to score.

Twenty minutes into the second half, point scoring machine Cattell got her second try of the match, leaving herself a tricky conversion. The ball once again bounced off the posts. 22-10  

Saracens launched waves of attack and tried to play to their strengths of their speedy wingers but a few too many errors halted any chance of scoring more points.  Abi Chamberlain was next to get on the score sheet after successfully kicking two penalties for Richmond, extending their lead further to 28-10.

Richmond unleashed their bench with minutes to go and Saracens’ were fighting right up until the final whistle. Hannah Gallagher had the final say of the game with a consolation try for her team which Cattell successfully converted.

The final score was 28-17, making Richmond deserved Premiership winners after topping the table and winning all but one game this season. They are the first team to win the title nine times.

Emma Croker received player of the match, but every member of the team proved themselves a vital component of the champions that are Richmond #oneclub.

Richmond Team:

1 Victoria Cornborough 2 Emma Croker  (VC) 3 Elisha Dee 4 Zoe Saynor 5 Deborah McCormack 6 Fiona Fletcher 7 Tess Forsberg 8 Anna Caplice 9 Leanne Riley 10 Jackie Shiels  (C) 11 Holly Myers 12 Amy Turner 13 Abbi Chamberlain 14 Stacey White 15 Claire Davies 16 Davinia Monterio 17 Chloe Edwards 18 Rebecca Rowe 19 Sammy Voyle 20 Alicia McComish 21 Laura Kapo 22 Jade Wong

Saracens Team:

1 Karlee Walters 2 Geri Thomas 3 Jeanni Vinueza Yoyola 4 Poppy Cleall 5 Fiona Sim 6 Lauren Newman 7 Hannah Gallagher 8 Sonia Green (C) 9 Georgie Gulliver 10 April Brown 11 Lotte Clapp 12 Brooke Sim 13 Lauren Cattell 14 Deborah Fleming 15 Nina Vistisen

Report courtesy of Richmond Ladies RFC