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Richmond 29 - 24 Worcester

Disappointment for Worcester Ladies

Last Updated: Feb 22, 2016 08:26pm
Hindlip, Wychavon
By David Guest
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Worcester disappointed to lose in the last play of the game at Premier Champions Richmond.

Richmond 29 Worcester 24.

The Champions were made to fight hard for their victory, only securing a win with a try on the last play of the game.

Given Richmond’s form this season, and their comprehensive victory over Worcester four weeks ago in the Premiership play off semi-final, not many people in the Women’s game would have given the visitors any hope of a result.

A determined Worcester team took the game to the champions from the kick off, dominating the exchanges and showing great skill and pace out wide, but there were also early warning signs that the pack, considerably lighter and less experienced than Richmond, were going to struggle.

Worcester stunned the partisan crowed by opening the scoring on 11 minutes, Benedicte Williams spotted the absence of the full back, kicked cleverly into space, Samantha Bree raced forward, collected calmly and scored under the posts. Bree also took the extras.

More surprises followed, but Richmond’s dominance in the scrum was giving them a significant advantage when handling errors occurred, winning the majority of the encounters and giving Rhi Parker, who played extremely well at scrum half, some interesting problems to overcome. The technique of hooker Paula Robinson could not be faulted, neither could her barnstorming outfield display throughout the game, but the sheer power of the Richmond pack enabled them to gain the advantage time and time again.

With the ball in hand, Worcester looked imperious and increased their lead, passing ball moved right though the line for full back Kelly Smith to outpace three defenders and take Worcester into a 12-point lead on 20 minutes, silencing the home crowd.

At this point, Richmond started to use their forward advantage, denying the Worcester backs possession and playing through the centre. Their power and dominance in the scrum was rewarded with a penalty try and the visitors appeared to fold under the pressure, conceding a further three tries and two conversions to reverse the advantage and provide the home side with a 24-12 lead at half time.

Worcester returned to the field with purpose, again taking the game to the visitors, causing problems going forward and playing the vast majority of the half in the oppositions 22. However, when handling errors occurred, the scrummage was still found wanting and advantage was frequently surrendered.

No one at the Athletic Ground could have been surprised when Chelsey Snead completed an intense period of attack by finishing strongly to bring Worcester back into the game at 24-17 on 60 minutes and now very much in the ascendency, Samantha Bree ripped a ball, evaded two tackles and ran in her second try on 70 minutes, which she also converted to bring the game level at 24 -24.

With time elapsed, but Richmond in possession, the home side launched a last gasp ferocious attack. Worcester’s defence conceded a series of penalties which eventually enable Richmond to pick up from a driving scrummage and score in the corner, a cruel outcome and probably an unjust reward for the visitor’s efforts.

Despite this defeat, Worcester can take heart from the all-round performance, and were applauded off the pitch by the home supporters. The players gave their all and it was most encouraging to see Paula Robinson and Chelsey Snead step up from the second team and cause such havoc against quality opposition.  Samantha Bree, recently returned from long term injury, was devastating in her unfamiliar role in the centre and the golden moment in the game saw winger Sammy Parker leap to prevent a penalty line out, somersault, gather the ball and off load, amazing skill.

Worcester would like to thank the supporters who made the journey to London and provided encouragement throughout the game. Greatly appreciated.

We would like to thank our sponsors and supporters VetsNow, NMU, Foil Specialist, Gardiner Fosh, Worcestershire County Council, Knowle Sports, Aline, AJB Photographic for their continued support.

Worcester entertain Waterloo at Westons next Sunday, February 28th, kick off 2.00pm. Your support will be welcome.

PHOTO: AJB PHOTOGRAPHIC

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