Teddington Ladies get the year off to a flier
By Sarah Edwards
Teddington 31 Cullompton 28. After a tough first half the season, Teddington were looking to get the new year off to a good start after two committed weeks of January training.
This was a thrilling game, with Cullompton leading until the final minutes and Teddington coming back from a 14 point deficit to win it.
Showing some expected rustiness and a good dollop of nerves in the opening minutes, Antlers found themselves down 7-0 when the pacey Cullompton fullback raced through the middle to score under the posts.
The home side soon woke up and a lovely burst down the touchline from Elicia Davis helped Heidi James to power beyond the last defender and dot down. A fine kick from Jo Mair leveled the score.
But the Cullompton 15 continued to cause problems out wide and a loose pass saw the visitors push the ball wide on the turnover and score again just minutes later. Teddington were looking strong in possession but some loose passing and hesitancy in contact was punished again as the visiting team powered to a 21-7 lead after 30 minutes
The visitors had to score next and it was Aimee Miller who grabbed the vital try, spotting space down the wing and racing over to keep the score 21-12 at halftime.
The next score would be vital and with Teddington beginning to settle much better into the game, with Penny Carr, Nat Haidari and Heather Smith all making excellent ground up front, the home side had lots of early chances. Some of those went begging but finally after an excellent surge from Haidari and Laura Templeman, Miller dived over from the base of a ruck to bring the scores up to 21-19.
Cullompton came back hard at the hosts soon found themselves in the Teddington 22. Despite some strong defensive work, with Emma Davis and Elicia Davis prominent, the Devon side managed to dot down and push the lead out to 28-19.
Teddington never let their heads drop and a determined chat under the sticks helped the home team to a strong kick chase off the restart, managing to pin Cullompton down in their own 22. With a well functioning line out, Zoe Feenan, with the help of Madre Blackford and Jen Box managed to spoil numerous attempts from the Devon team to clear their lines.
A vital score finally came when Elicia Davis and Sabrina Rambohul connected through the middle, with James on hand once again to show her excellent finishing skills for a try in the corner, That took the score to 24-28 and ensured there would be a nailbiting finish as both teams looked to grab the try to finish the game off and grab a winning try bonus point.
A couple of chances went missing out wide but with Nicole Kwee's footwork making life difficult for Cullompton around the fringes, a try did look inevitable. It finally came thanks to a super break from Kwee who managed to shake off numerous defenders to touch down and the conversion from Mair gave Teddington the lead for the first time in the game with six minutes to go.
The visitors threw everything at Antlers to try and find a way back to win the game, but some excellent defending, a great turnover from Templeman and sheer doggedness meant the home team held on to win just their second game of the season.
Teddington are back in action next weekend in a development-friendly against Battersea while the league action sees the team travel to Guernsey the weekend after.