Impalas Earn Hard Fought Victory

Last Updated: Sep 30, 2015 06:59pm
North Richmond, Richmond upon Thames London Boro
By Sian Hobday
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Impalas earn hard fought victory against experienced Reading Abbey
After a long wait and some let downs from the opposition, the Impalas finally were able to open their league season with a hard-fought victory against a team that won it's previous league convincingly last year.
Richmond's starting line-up contained five players playing their first ever game of rugby with two more rugby newcomers on the bench. This made the first quarter of the game a bit unstructured and scrappy as the team, playing together for the first time were trying to find their feet against a strong running team, eager to use their tall and powerful centre as often as possible.
Richmond trailed on the leader board twice in the first half, first at 3-5 and then 8-10, but thanks to a neat break and pass from Captain Hannah Gifford, winger Temi Nuga scored her debut try. 
In the second half, scrum half KC Gates started to get front foot ball for our backs as well as stopping Reading at source. Gates was at her belligerent best in the sunshine. The stronger platform meant the Impalas could start to give more open field ball to the two new wings; Nuga and Sas, ably supported and talked through it by Tara Hodgkinson at fullback. Both these debutants are star athletes by background and this showed every time they got the ball.

Nuga famously roared at Reading's fullback whilst charging at her. It was a war cry which the purists would admonish but amused the team and coaching staff at the time. 

Towards the end of the match, with the scoreline remaining tight, sterling efforts from front row, Laura Ash, Hannah Roberts and Helen Ensom created a platform from which the evergreen Eryka Wessel scored what resulted in being the winning try from No 8.
New cap Sophie Thompson was named player of the game after eight carries on the day, all of which she recycled successfully.
Captain Hannah Gifford said, 'We all decided we would commit to the cause and whether an old hand or a newbie, everyone came to the party today. I'm exhausted and elated all at the same time. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to kick off our first match of the season.' 


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