Strong second half sends Teddington to Twickenham

By Joe Acklam

2nd May 2023 | Rugby

Teddington rallied in the second half to send themselves to the cup final at Twickenham. Photo: Simon Ridler.
Teddington rallied in the second half to send themselves to the cup final at Twickenham. Photo: Simon Ridler.

It's a cliché, but there is no other way to describe this one. A game of two halves, the first of which was totally controlled by St Ives, and the second where Teddington clicked into gear and powered past their opponents to reach their third community cup final at Twickenham.

The sun finally came out, and a sizeable crowd gathered at Imber Court. These sorts of games don't come around very often for clubs like ours, and there was a sense of anticipation in the air as kick off approached.

St Ives are a rugby club steeped in history, founded in 1889 and with England internationals amongst their former players. Despite their gruelling near 600-mile round trip, it was 'The Hakes' that came out the blocks the brighter in this one as they put the Antlers on the back foot almost from the off.

It wasn't long before they worked the ball wide to the right, where the St Ives winger showed some impressive pace and footwork to open the scoring. A conversion and penalty shortly followed, and Teddington were struggling to get a foothold in the game.

Things got worse shortly after, when St Ives found a hole in the Antlers midfield to score under the posts to make it 0-17 heading towards half time.

The turning point seemed to come around the 35-minute mark. St Ives were again applying pressure in Teddington territory, looking for what could have been the knockout blow; Teddington held out with some resilient defending, and then there was an injury break as the visitors lost one of their back row following a nasty head knock.

As play resumed Teddington secured some ball to play with; fly half Bob Beevers put in a clever cross kick which was collected by young winger Gabe Roberts who scorched in, to the delight of the home support.

7-17 at half time and game on. As the second half kicked off, with the home support reinvigorated, you could sense a shift in momentum.

When left winger Max Aitken scored minutes later and Bob Beevers added a penalty shortly after, that shift in power was confirmed. A 17-0 deficit recovered in a blink of an eye with half an hour still on the clock.

St Ives were on the ropes now, as Teddington continued to run at them in the wide channels. Aitken scored again to make it 22-17, then again to complete his hat trick.

Now 29-17 ahead, there seemed no way back for the Cornishmen, and the home side were within touching distance of Twickenham. Gabe Roberts and Olly Holland added further trys to cap off a complete second half performance.

St Ives never let their heads drop though and continued to play rugby right up until the end and were rewarded with a well-deserved consolation try at the death.

Thank you to them for being so honourable in defeat. Teddington's fitness and conditioning no doubt was significant in getting them through this one, but their unwavering belief and experience from coming behind in games earlier this season was also a huge factor.

They'll need both again next week, when they take on Wensleydale RUFC from Yorkshire in the final game of the season at Twickenham Stadium.

New opponents to play against, new rugby friendships to be forged and most importantly another massive day out for Teddington RFC. 

Final Score Teddington RFC 43 St Ives RFC 22. Man of the Match Stuart Ridler.


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