Unstoppable Harrogate Ladies score 17 tries in demolition of visiting Manchester
By Helena Landau
The Ladies side take their third victory from as many matches in new league Championship North 2.
Three games into the new season and Harrogate Ladies sit comfortably at the top of the Championship North 2 League table.
Within 5 minutes of kick off Harrogate had scored 2 tries, the first came after a well timed offload from centre Kelly Morgan before the speed of full back Lauren Bolger was utilised. The second was scored from a tactically timed penalty taken by Captain Rose Jay, she passed wide to Bolger who dived over the line once again. With one successful conversion, Harrogate were off to a flying start of 12-0.
The forwards made their mark by winning a Manchester scrum soon after the restart. Number 8 Anna Hamilton made a powerful run before passing to Prop Amber Barnicoat who charged through the central defence and offloaded to Jay who scored out wide.
Harrogate then piled on the pressure and backed Manchester into a corner, they kicked to clear but the ball was picked up by Bolger. The full back ran through a scattered defence and unable to be caught, scored under the posts. She kicked over the extras to make it 24-0.
With Manchester playing a very centrally orientated game, Harrogate were allowed to keep shipping the ball wide and use the athleticism of their backs and score on the edge. More tries came in from Sophie Wilson, Sarah Foster and Celine Almond, two of which were converted by Bolger.
Forward Achele Agada powered through from halfway to score the final try of the half, rounding it up to 57-0.
After the interval the tries kept coming in from the home team, though the frequency of which did not truly reflect the quality of the opposition who were fighting on after half time.
Agada touched down for a second time followed by another from prop Imari Epps, well deserved after a series of powerful tackles. Winger Celine Almond added the extras.
However, Lucy Barnett’s side suffered a yellow card and whilst down to 14 players conceded a try from the visiting side who deserved their right to make it on to the scoreboard.
The tries kept coming in for the home team though, with Foster scoring her second and powerful runs from forwards Chrissy Pratt and Barnicoat resulting in Evie Jackson and Jay touching down too. With Almond converting each the scoreline was ever increasing to 90-5.
With 10 minutes left Harrogate still had time to add more, winger Simone Christopher took two tries over the line and Charlotte Warriner scored her first of the match, after an impactful run from second row Martha Riggs.
After a 17 try display from Harrogate the final score was 112-5 to Harrogate.
The Ladies will take on Southport on Sunday at the Stratstone Stadium and welcome all spectatorship to what promises to be a competitive match, kick off time TBC.