Quarter-final success sees Harrogate Ladies soar through to the semi-final of the Intermediate Cup
By Helena Landau
Lucy Barnett’s outfit put 41 points past North Eastern rivals Bishop Auckland
Following Sunday’s quarter final success, Harrogate Ladies have drawn Midland’s outfit, Bletchley for the next round. The match will be held at the Stratstone Stadium, Harrogate Rugby Club on March 24th.
With Betchley sat solidly at the top of the Championship Midlands 2 league, this promises to be a close competition for a spot in the successive stage of the competition. All support for the Ladies will be largely welcomed on the day, kick off time is to be confirmed.
As Bishop Auckland knocked Harrogate out of the cup last season in a surprise defeat, the Rudding lane outfit were ready for revenge and the visitors similarly determined to make it a second success in a row.
Bishop proved to be a fresher and much improved squad than the previous year from the outset of the match, and it became clear why they are sitting so comfortably at the top of their league table.
Centre, Sarah Foster received the kick off deep in the Harrogate half and ran a hard line into Bishop’s solid defence. Flanker, Nieve Jones was there in support to protect. The ball was kept safe and shipped quickly to the forward runners by scrum half, Rose Jay. The ball was lost in contact though and a Bishop scrum followed. Harrogate were under pressure near their line as Sophie Wilson, Annie Lyles and Amber Barnicoat put in some huge hits on members of the Bishop defence.
With Bishop conceding a penalty for offiside, Jay tapped and went quickly. She darted through multiple members of Bishop defence and touched down under the sticks. Full back, Lauren Bolger converted to make it 7-0.
Rachael Demoraes and Bolger combined, making progressive runs which had led to Harrogate’s second try. Number 8, Anna Hamilton received the ball from the full back after a loose Bishop pass at half way.
With winger, Simone Christopher on her right she runs round defence and touched down out wide herself. The conversion was kicked over by Bolger once again to increase the score to 14-0.
After the restart, Hamilton rinsed Bishop’s fly half to regain possession and flanker, Lauren Clarkson protected the ball superbly in the rucks.
After a second high tackle on Bolger, Bishop received a penalty and were down to 14. Following this, Harrogate turned the ball in a line out and second row, Annie Lyles drew the defence after an explosive run and shipped it out wide to Jay who touched down. Bolger made her hatrick conversion and made it 21-0 just before the half time whistle.
Bishop came back after half time with a new lease of life and determined to make a score. Demoraes was tackling anything that moved and stopping the Bishop attack in its tracks all over the pitch.
Jones and fly half, Kel Morgan managed to turn the ball and together made moves up the pitch. It took Bishop some serious effort and big hits to eventually regain possession.
However once they did, Demoraes caught the kick that followed and Jay made her way back up the pitch before passing the ball to prop, Achele Agada who scored on the left. 24-0
Bishop manage to score shortly after this though, following a series of awarded penalties close to the Harrogate half, finally putting some points on the scoreboard.
In response, Foster received a Bishop kick well and shipped off to Wilson when she needed. Wilson made her way up the remainder of the pitch evading the defence to score. 29-5.
Bishop put in all they had left in them for the last quarter, using their forward runners to score again close to the line making it 29-10.
Yet again the home centre, Foster replied well using her serious stepping skills before setting up Bolger who ran straight through the middle and crossed the whitewash under the sticks. A final try followed from Bolger to bring the final score to 41-0, solidifying Harrogate's place in the semi-final.