Teddington RFC cap dream season with cup win at Twickenham

By Joe Acklam

9th May 2023 | Rugby

Teddington RFC complete the league and cup double at Twickenham. Photo: Simon Ridler.
Teddington RFC complete the league and cup double at Twickenham. Photo: Simon Ridler.

Teddington capped off a momentous season on Sunday as they beat Wensleydale RUFC 53-19 to lift the inaugural Papa John's Counties 2 Championship Cup at Twickenham Stadium.

At the beginning of this campaign, there was an air of optimism around the club that improvements could be made on the pitch. What has unfolded over the last 9 months has been beyond all expectations, as the 1st XV have swept all before them in the league, finishing with a 100% record, before moving onto the new national cup competition which they have dominated in equally impressive fashion.

The squad has been looking stronger as they approached this final, taking confidence from wins against in form teams, Bognor, Eastbourne, Warminster, and St Ives, before this final tie against the Counties 2 Champions of Yorkshire.

Despite the stark differences in the club's geographical distance from HQ, any thoughts that this would be a home fixture for Teddington were off the mark. Wensleydale travelled down in their droves, packed the stands, and made plenty of noise in support of their boys.

The Teddington faithful were there in their hundreds as well. Minis and Juniors, current players, former players, parents, and local supporters made the short bus journey from TW11 dreaming of a repeat of the clubs 2010 & 2011 victories at the home of rugby. It was all set for a great afternoon and the action on the pitch didn't fail to live up to the hype.

Teddington have won every match of the season. Photo: Simon Ridler.

The Antlers took two minutes to get the scoreboard ticking, as Tom Williams capitalized on a mix-up in the Wensleydale backfield and dotted down a try which Bob Beevers converted for an early 7-0 lead.

Wensleydale shrugged off the early setback and came straight back at Teddington, marshalling their rolling maul to great effect and crossing the Teddington line to bring it back to 7-5.

It was clear this game was going to be a clash of the styles. Wensleydale bringing a direct forward orientated approach as opposed to the Antlers who were looking to get the ball wide at every opportunity.

Again, Teddington edged ahead as George Bradford overlapped to finish superbly in the right-hand corner. Once more, the Yorkshire side hit back as they made their power up front tell.

At 12-12 the game was finely balanced, and with Wensleydale dominating possession, the Antlers needed to hold firm. They did just that, relying on the organized defense which has served them so well all season.

Teddington defeat Wensleydale at Twickenham Stadium. Photo: Simon Ridler.

Ironically, it was a yellow card for Teddington which seemed to turn the game in their favour. Reduced to 14 men, they scored three unanswered trys courtesy of Williams (again), Joe Stainer and Max Aitken to take them in at half time 33-12 to the good. It was a scoring blitz that Wensleydale never recovered from.

As he has done all season Beevers continued a near faultless display of place kicking, nudging the Surrey Champions further ahead with two penalties after the interval.

Despite the Yorkshire forwards expending huge amounts of energy during that first half, they refused to lie down and came back with a try of their own, to bring it back to 39-19, but it was the Antlers who had the final say. 

Joe Stainer scorched in for the try of the afternoon following a wonderful break by Max Aitken, and it was substitute center and club stalwart Matt Poole who finished off the scoring for the day.

The final whistle brought wild celebrations amongst the Teddington support. This was a fabulous day for everyone connected to this great community rugby club.

The celebrations went on long into the night, and rightly so. This has been a season where the players, coaches and support team have delivered so much, and they fully deserve all the plaudits that come their way. 

Final Score Teddington RFC 53 Wensleydale RUFC 19.

Man of the Match Tom WILLIAMS.


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