Despite a strong second half showing, Richmond succumbed to league leaders Harlequins after an impressive opening 40 minute blitz.
The visitors had too much pace out wide, and after winger Jess Breach had grabbed four tries in the first half, Richmond did well to keep the score down as Harlequins secured an eighth bonus point win in eight outings this campaign.
Harlequins’ power at the scrum proved too much time and time again, and it proved to be the pivotal moment early on as a set piece in the Richmond 22 saw Leanne Riley pick and go blind and offload for Jess Breach to grab the first of her tries.
Richmond hit back with a period of strong pressure, and as they edged closer and closer to the visitors’ line, a try looked imminent. And so it proved, but it came at the other end, when Jess Breach picked the ball up out wide and ran the length of the field to open up a 12 point lead. Breach added two more in quick succession as Quins got their tails up, and after Jess Wooden scored a wonderful individual try – chipping and collecting to dot down under the posts – Harlequins had a 31-0 lead to take in at the break.
The visitors crossed early in the second half, too, but it was a try that kicked the hosts into life, and a period of huge pressure saw Richmond come up just short of the Harlequins line time and time again. The Richmond midfield was creating problems for Harlequins, and things looked much more solid up front, so when Jade Wong finally crossed after a big break from Laura Kapo and quick hands out wide, it felt like just reward for a much-improved display.
Harlequins hit back with another try through substitute Georgia Gray, but it was Richmond who had all the territory and possession for the remaining 20 minutes. Harlequins held out under a huge amount of pressure, though, and Richmond were left to rue a series of missed chances, none more so than Charlotte Keane’s pick and go from close range that was adjudged to be a double movement.
In truth, Harlequins deserved the win, but the scoreline is one that flatters the visitors, and points more to a clinical edge than a dominance. Richmond were aggressive in defence throughout, with Victoria Britland and Kirsty-Lee Griffiths constantly in their opponents’ faces.
The forwards carried superbly in the second half, and Fran Hall and substitute Sian Hobday in particular made a number of inroads, while Gaelle Mignot was nominated as Richmond’s standout player. In the end, though, it was the league leaders who came out on top again, and with a three week break now ahead, Richmond have time to reflect on missed opportunities.
K Wallis, K Lose, K-L Griffiths, V Britland, A McComish, A Chamberlain, J Knight; A Butler, G Mignot, M Simpson, R Burnfield, C Butler, Z Barber, F Hall, C Phelps
Subs: L Kapo, S Hobday, R Ball, E Povey, C Keane, J Wong, A De Rossi
J Wooden, H Myers, A Pocock, L Dowsett, J Breach, R Burford, L Riley; V Cornborough, D Catlin, C Edwards, A Scott, D McCormack, S Brown, A Greenslade, S Voyle
Subs: T Viksten, S Parker, H Field, L Philp, G Gray, H Cowell, N Bradshaw
Report courtesy of Richmond FC