The Gazelles welcomed Teddington Antlers as they made the short trip down the A3 Last Sunday.
The Antlers have made an uncharacteristically weak start to the season and occupied 7th place while Guildford are on a high following wins against Cullompton and Portsmouth.
Guildford started strongly with an excellent exit including a couple of strong carries from Hannah Trafford and excellent link up play in the back line. Guildford kept Teddington confined to their half and eventually, as the pressure grew, the backs were celebrating in the far right corner as Zan Hudson spotted space behind the defence putting a kick over the top, which allowed Abbie Watkin to put the first 5 points on the board with a great chase and finish.
Gazelles fought a series of defensive scrums following knock-ons and eventually Teddington conceded a penalty on halfway. Gracie New couldn’t resist the quick tap, releasing fly half Hudson whose quick feet confused the Teddington defence and resulted in a beautiful solo effort try.
The balcony were celebrating again soon after when it looked like Guildford had their third with winger Phili Wellman evading the defence and crossing the line before losing the ball. They did not have to wait long for the third however as fullback Katie Davies carved out an opportunity through the middle, sitting the opposing fullback down as she barged over.
The Gazelles continued to pressure on Teddington and squandered a couple of good opportunities before Becki “Melman” Simmons flopped over the line following strong carries through midfield from first Verity Brooker, then Hudson and the Spencer Hastings.
In the closing moments of the half, Captain New was sent to the bin for a team yellow following a sequence of 3 offside penalties in close succession, offering Teddington the opportunity to score their first points and making the score at half time 22-5.
The second half started quickly and it didn’t take long for the Gazelles to add to the scoreboard with a ferocious driving maul that Teddington had no answer for, Hannah Trafford grounding on the far left to bring the Gazelles to 27-5 and securing a deserved bonus point.
It seemed likely that the floodgates should open at this point however the Teddington defence responded and the Gazelles found themselves in a battle for the majority of the second half. With the bonus point secured coaches Brooker, Davies and Boothman emptied the bench. New returned from her enforced rest and briefly the Gazelles had 15 again. The scrum started to really motor with excellent work from a refreshed pack full of energy.
Teddington added another 5 before the Gazelles were once again in trouble with Substitute Aliya seeing yellow for a high tackle and Jess Dale off for a no arms tackle. The final try followed with Spencer Hastings and Emma Swadlo making strong carries down the centre and Georgia Thomas crossing under the posts to give Davies an easy conversion. Final Score 34-10.
Guildford finish the year in second place on 26 points with Cullompton a point behind in third and Reading Abbey ahead on 32 points. They will look to start the New Year in style away to Newbury.
Gold Star Reporting