Harrogate Ladies back with a vengeance against Didsbury
By Helena Landau
Harrogate fight back to win 43-10 against Didsbury after single point defeat in the play off
Harrogate travelled to Manchester on Sunday to take on Didsbury. After some difficulties on the road the match kicked off an hour and a half later than planned at 3:15. Lucy Barnett’s side were determined to make their mark against Didsbury this time around after heartbreak against the Manchester side in April, when they were beaten by a single point during their play off for promotion.
Harrogate didn’t start well and knocked on straight from kick off. However, after a scrum the ball was won back in the ruck by second row, Annie Lyles. This allowed Harrogate to press right up to the Didsbury try line, forcing the opposition to kick. Harrogate were in control still, but their passing was letting them down.
Play was paused after Harrogate number 8, Ellie Ward took a bad bang to the head and was taken off for assessment. After play resumed, Didsbury kicked out once again to gain some space but a perfect pick up from Captain, Rose Jay initiated the Harrogate attack.
Jay offloads to Fullback, Lauren Bolger who speedily gains ground before being tackled by Didsbury’s last defender. Luckily, winger Celine Almond was there for the offload, scoring in the corner. Harrogate were 5-0 up after 11 minutes.
Didsbury fought back after the restart, pressing right up to the Harrogate try line, but Harrogate recovered and cleared the ball swiftly. Didsbury were strong but Gate were winning in the rucks. This didn’t last long however, with the travelling team giving away a number of penalties, just about managing to keep Didsbury at bay. 18 minutes in however, winger, Evie Jackson dances down a second score making it 10-0.
As play restarted Didsbury made the game difficult for Harrogate, forcing them to knock on within 5 metres of their own try line. The home side then received a penalty within 10 metres of the line. Harrogate were in trouble.
However, flanker Lauren Clarkson stole the ball shipping it to centre, Nieve Jones who makes some ground before passing to Sarah Foster who in turn offloads to Charlotte Warriner. Warriner burst through running the remaining 60 metres of the pitch to touch down between the sticks, Bolger converted to make it 17-0. Following the restart, Bolger ran rings around the Didsbury fullback. She dummy stepped in, then stepped back out leaving the opposing 15 in her wake before touching down and making the half time score 22-0 to Harrogate.
The first contact after the interval consisted of Prop, Amber Barnicoat slicing the Didsbury winger in half, resulting in Harrogate regaining possession. Jackson nearly made another break up the wing, but was stopped short by a knock on along the line. Didsbury were looking good, their pressure causing Harrogate to knock on again. A try in the corner for the home team followed, 22-5.
Shortly after the restart the ball found itself bouncing through to the Didsbury try line following a kick, Freya Wilde made the chase, beating 3 Didsbury players to score for Harrogate. She added the extras to bring the score to 29-5.
A Harrogate line out was to come after the Didsbury kick off after Barnicoat tackled Didsbury into touch. Evie Jackson broke down the wing off the back of the line out. However, the Didsbury 15 who was seemingly out of the game receiving medical attention, rose from the ashes to stop Jackson short, wiping her out.
Didsbury were making things difficult again as Harrogate received a yellow for coming into the ruck at the side. Sarah Foster managed to save the day though, by charging through the defence to give Harrogate a rest, despite being down to 14 players. Wilde converted again to round the score up to 36-5.
To polish things off scrum half, Sophie Wilson danced round the defence, adding another 5 points. Wilde booted over the additional 2 points. Didsbury wanted the final say though, and made a last minute try in the corner, the final score was 43-10 to Harrogate.