Teddington Ladies 5, Guildford Gazelles 25 – Sunday 18th March 2018
As the season draws to its climax the Gazelles headed to Teddington for the penultimate league game of the season. Teddington had previously beaten league leaders Newbury and were out to scalp the current leaders after Guildford had handsomely beaten them earlier in the season.
The Gazelles got off to a uncharacteristically slow start, seemingly unable to clear their lines or impose their aggressive defence which had served them so well this year. Teddington,with much of the possession, attacked the Gazelles with strong running and good interplay between forwards and backs.
With the Gazelles conceding a lot of penalties, Teddington got within striking distance and scrambled over from close range to take a 5 nil lead. This sparked the Gazelles into life, a good kick off resulted in a Teddington mistake and, after a few attempted driving mauls, the Gazelles finally moved the ball wide out working the opposition which allowed Becki ‘melman’ Simmons to power over in the right hand corner.
Unfortunately a lapse in concentration at the kick off put the Gazelles back under pressure, Teddington again making inroads into the Guildford half. After soaking up a barrage of pressure from Teddington the Gazelles managed to turn the ball over and an excellent clearing kick from Kate Jenkins allowed Guildford to escape to half way.
Guildford turned the ball over at the lineout and went on the attack through Gracie New, who after a sniping run was cut just short of the line, however quick recycled ball and good work rate allowed Simmons to cross for her second try, Leaving the gazelles 10-5 up at half time.
It was Teddington who started the second half strongest and after thwarting numerous attacks on their own line, Guildford again kicked their way clear. At this stage Guildford looked to their finishers coming off the bench to add some much needed impetus to their game, this was duly given, with Anna Clarke and Lesley Harden carrying strongly in the loose, and Hattie Roberts exploiting space in the wide channels.
This freshness took its toll on a tiring Teddington side, repeated infringements allowed Guildford to kick for the corner and to set up a driving maul in Teddington’s twenty two. Off the back of this maul, skipper Vicky Boothman flopped over the line for Guildford’s 3rd score.
After clearing their lines from the kick off, Teddington fumbled the ball in the back field allowing the Gazelles to utilise turnover ball and they made quick work of getting within scoring distance after good work from Roberts and New down the left hand side. Finally after a few attempts from the forwards Spencer Hastings crashed over from short range.
With 10 minutes to go and Guildford chasing one more try for the bonus point, a few nerves were beginning to show, however, after a pressurised clearance kick from Teddington, fullback Zan Hudson released Roberts down the left wing, although she was tackled, Hudson followed her to receive the offload and beat the cover defence to score in the left hand corner.
The game closed out shortly after, the final score being 25-5 to the Gazelles, keeping them top of the league.
Player of the match went to Becki ‘melman’ Simmons in the second row for outstanding work rate and strong carrying in the loose.
Coach Ali Davis, was really pleased to see the response in the second half and the way the finishers came off the bench and added to the intensity on the field.
The Gazelles now entertain Battersea Ironsides at home in the semi final of the surrey cup under lights, on Friday the 16th of March, before travelling to Reading Abbey for the title decider between first and second on the 25th of March.