Reasons to be cheerful, part 22

A playing report for Richmond Women’s 22nd season

 

The first XV finished runners-up in the Premiership final, our second XV were a narrow second in Prem 2 and the 3rd XV second in South East division 2. On the face of it all the twos looks rather disappointing: In reality, our final competitive positions reflect a season of high achievement:

 

Team

Played

Won

Drawn

Lost

Points for

Pts Against

1st XV

16

10

0

6

374

201

2nd XV

14

9

1

4

274

138

3rd XV

13

9

0

4

253

191

AB side

4

4

0

0

127

27

Total

47

32

1

14

1028

557

 

We fielded the youngest first team in history (average age 23.9), survived a terrible injury- count in our back-line (6 first team wingers out for most or all of the season) and we played 32 different first team players from 6 different international teams. 

 

 

      The youngest team ever fielded by Richmond 1st XV in a competitive match, November 11th, 2007

                       (There are six teenagers here, not including Miriam, our wonderful physio)

 

The best news of all is that for the first time ever all three senior teams were coached by former Richmond players: Karen Findlay led the first team superbly, Lisa O’Keefe marshalled the twos to our best result in a decade and Helen Ives drove the threes to 4 wins in our last five matches, to leapfrog Ealing into a fine second place.

 

1st XV Top Ten Highlights  

 

*       A bonus point (5 tries) gained at Wasps after just 32 minutes

*       The play and leadership of Dawn Mason

*       26-0 lead at Worcester after 22 minutes

*       The all-round excellence of Emma Layland, our player of the year

*       Beating Clifton (11 internationals in their start line-up) in a classic 25-5

*       The brilliance of Amy Turner at scrum half and Jo O’Sullivan at 13

*       Back row big-hitters Selena Rudge and Karen Jones

*       Top try scorer from fly half - Alice Richardson: 9 tries and 111 points in total

*       An 11-phase match winning try against Wasps in the Premiership Semi-final

*       The consistency of our young second row, Sara Anastasi & Rowena Burnfield

 

2nd XV

 

For the first time in a decade the second team were serious title contenders for Premiership 2. In fact, having beaten every opponent in the league at least once, we led the division going into the last match away at Bath.

 

We gave them a two score lead early on, but came within a forward pass of winning the game in the final minute. International panel referee, Tony Spreadbury handled the game superbly and commented afterwards, ‘This was brilliant rugby for two super sides!’

 

The most influential players during the season were Captain Hannah Farquarson, No 8 Eryka Wessel and a fine midfield partnership of Alice Lovett and Italian stand-off Vicki Schiaron.

Georgina Crabb was a potent try scorer towards the end of the campaign too.

 

3rd XV

 

The biggest impact of first team injuries is always down at third team level, where we struggled to field a side. In this light, to end the season fulfilling all fixtures and winning 9 is a huge credit to Captain Aideen and coach Helen Ives. The back-to-back victories against a strong Ealing side were the highlight of the campaign. Rachel Stribling scoring crucial tries in both encounters. New additions such as Louise ‘Shoulders’ Meadows and Jen Kehoe and strong links with Brunel and Guy’s Hospital definitely strengthened the ranks.

 

Richmond was proudly represented on the international front with our hooker Emma Layland, stand off Alice Richardson, number 8 Karen Jones, and scrumhalf Amy Turner playing in England’s Grand Slam team. Also, our teenage winger Fiona Pocock scored a crucial try to help England reach the European Championship final.  Centre Erin Kerr and winger Lyndsay Douglas played for Scotland, our other centre Jo O’Sullivan, wore the 10 jersey for Ireland throughout the Championship, and Vickie Schiaron and Martina Barbini represented Italy at stand off and second row.

 

To round off another fine season, Sara Anastasi, Katie Smith, Harriet Slynn and Fran Mathews represented England A, and Rowena Burnfield and Georgina Crabb made it into the under 19s squad.

Mark Francis

 

      Jo ‘Sparkles’ O’Sullivan contemplates next season at our review bar-b-que

 

 

   Coach Simon and Captain Dawn plan our cheeky 7s campaign (2 trophies so far)