Richmond Women 26-14 Henley Hawks Women
By Gen Moody
In a gripping clash on the rugby field, Henley Hawks journeyed to face the formidable Richmond, aiming to snap their opponent's winning streak. What unfolded was a rainy day showdown that kept spectators on the edge of their seats.
The Hawks stormed into action right from the kickoff, displaying unwavering determination to seize control. They anchored Richmond deep within their territory, their defense an impenetrable fortress that Richmond struggled to breach. Despite the relentless Henley pressure, Richmond seized an opportunity after a fumble in the backfield, showcasing their prowess with a brilliant set piece move that culminated in their winger slicing through Henley's defense to claim the opening try - 0-5.
Refusing to concede, Henley's strategic kick pinned Richmond within their 22. Their defense stood firm, denying Richmond any passage. A penalty in Henley's favor led to a crucial line-out and subsequent driving maul, eventually opening the door for No8 Kat Robinson to power through the defenders and slot the ball between the posts - 5-7, narrowing the gap.
The battle raged on as both sides engaged in a relentless back-and-forth, with Henley making significant inroads into Richmond's territory. However, Richmond's speed around the breakdowns proved effective, enabling them to pressurize Henley and execute a slick move that saw their center evade the defense and score - 12-7, reclaiming the lead.
Undeterred, Henley fought back, pinning Richmond again with a forceful kickoff. Their persistence paid dividends with a penalty enabling them to inch closer to the try line. Multiple phases of play and a driving maul saw Sidney dive over for Henley's second try, propelling them back into the lead - 12-14.
A twist in the narrative as Henley faced adversity with their starting 10 succumbing to injury, prompting a swift change in personnel. Despite this setback, Henley pushed forward, only to be thwarted by a pivotal interception by Richmond's 13, who dashed 50 meters to secure the final try of the first half - 19-14.
The start of the second half brought further challenges as Henley fumbled Richmond's kickoff, conceding ground that Richmond capitalized on to extend their lead to 26-14.
Henley regrouped, determined to unsettle Richmond, but the game intensified. Richmond upped their game, taking advantage of Henley's disrupted cohesion without their starting 10. Henley's valiant efforts saw them repeatedly push Richmond back, coming tantalizingly close to scoring but falling short in the execution.
Richmond capitalized on Henley's errors, earning penalties and marching Henley back down the pitch. However, Henley's resilience denied Richmond any further breakthroughs. In a dramatic surge in the closing moments, Henley orchestrated over 15 phases, almost reaching the try line, only to be turned over in the final play.
The scoreboard froze at 14-26 in favor of Richmond. Lauren Muller's stellar performance earned her the title of player of the match, with Stephie Clarke recognized as the coach's player. Despite Henley's unwavering determination, Richmond emerged victorious in this intense encounter.
Match photos courtesy of Andrew Turner here.