Richmond 10-10 Wasps
After early handling errors from both teams, Wasps were the first to put together a sustained attack with an early break from Michaela Staniford only being halted by Abi Chamberlain. The referee would prove to have a keen eye for knock-ons which gave the game a 'stop-start' feel. Wasps benefitted from this with the Richmond scrum uncharacteristically buckling under pressure. Only some strong tackles from Vicki Cornborough and Susie Brown kept Richmond out of trouble in the early exchanges.
Richmond showed flare in attack and Alex Matthews demonstrated the form that got her in the England senior team last season. The no 8 made a strong run into Wasps half before handling once again let the home side down. Richmond, however, managed the breakdown well turning Wasps over and regaining possession. Alice Richardson ran through the field before passing to Claire Allan who opened the scoring after 14 minutes. The conversion was missed; 5-0.
Wasps then showed more of the attacking play that they are capable of with sustained pressure on the Richmond 5m line, only to give away a penalty when a score looked inevitable.
Both sides were left ruing missed opportunities when handling errors let them down and Richmond’s penalty count will be a source of frustration. Wasps had the next opportunity to score, but a penalty from Hannah Edwards went wide.
Richmond attacked and defended well at times and showed flashes of the class they have, but repeated errors and penalties were handing the ball to the visitors and leaving Richmond under siege towards the end of the first half. It ended with the home team holding a slim 5-0 lead when another kickable penalty was missed by Wasps.
Following half time both teams demonstrated positive attacking play. Richmond’s Sophie Nicholas made a break down the right wing before being bundled into touch on the 22. Nic Hoole continued her form from last week with strong hand offs getting her through the Wasps defence only for the dreaded handling errors to reappear.
The home side finally strung together several attacking phases of play, but Rowena Burnfield was held up over the line. The Richmond scrum appeared stronger and the resulting attack on the Wasps line had their 6, Charlie Veale, sin binned for offside. Richmond continued to bombard the Wasp's line, eventually scoring one of the most unusual tries you will ever see. Wasps turned the ball over and the defender, standing in her own in goal area, popped the ball, not to her team mate, but Nic Hoole who simply touched the ball down to score Richmond's second. The conversion was missed, 10-0 after 50 minutes.
Richmond threatened again when a long Wasps lineout handed the ball back to Richmond via stand-in scrum half Lynne Cantwell. Alice Richardson carved up the Wasps defence with Nic Hoole in support before a knock on deprived Richardson of a sure try.
In the final 20 minutes Richmond were penalised for not rolling away and Sara Anastasi was sent to the bin, Wasps finally broke through after a lineout on Richmond's 22 led to a score from winger Ali Wright and an unconverted try, 10-5.