Harrogate's closest match this season against Didsbury ends in 8th successive win
By Helena Landau
The ladies side will enter 2019 untouched in Championship North 2
Unsurprisingly Didsbury started strong and put immediate pressure on the home side as they pressed forward with intent after receiving the kick well.
Harrogate turned it round quickly however, they ripped the ball from the arms of Didsbury before fly half, Alex Wallace scored from half way. She ran around the outside after pressure was applied and the defence was displaced.
Harrogate were soon back in possession and prop, Amber Barnicoat surprised the opposition with a grubber kick through, scattering the defence once again. Harrogate reached the kick but the ball was turned over and Didsbury made a break on the wing. Harrogate winger, Rachel Demoraes was quick to react though and made a last minute, try saving tackle. She managed to stop Didsbury’s full back in her tracks before she had chance to touch down.
Harrogate’s consistent pressure in defence enabled them to recover the ball again. Didsbury fought back and their full back won the ball back once more. They resumed their attack of the home side’s try line, making a break on the left before winger, Simone Christopher tackled Didsbury’s 15 out of play.
It wasn’t long though, before the visitors receive a penalty in Harrogate’s half, managing to cross the whitewash themselves as a result. It was all equal on the score board at 5-5.
In return, Harrogate progressed towards the try line but a knock on put Didsbury back on the front foot. Barnicoat put a stop to this once more as she took out the opposition in an immense tackle and the ball was turned over.
17 year old Izzy Harris made her debut for the ladies side as Demoraes was taken off with an injury, just before full back, Lauren Bolger scored the home side’s second from a penalty. Her footwork sent Didsbury into disarray and she added the extras to bring the score up to 12-5.
This restructured Harrogate who had been unorganised for the last period of play. The home side were then held up on the try line though, resulting in a 5 metre scrum. This led to Didsbury taking advantage and scoring again, decreasing the points difference to just 2.
In instant response, Barnicoat dummied the defence before crossing the whitewash to make it 17-10.
After the subsequent restart Harrogate pushed up onto Didsbury’s try line again but pressure applied by their opposition meant the ball was fumbled. Though Harrogate were then pushed back for a scrum, scrum half Sophie Wilson combined with number 8, Anna Hamilton to score and finish off the first half at 22-10.
After the interval, Bolger put the afterburners on after catching a Didsbury clearance kick. She scored again after only a few minutes.
Harrogate then received a series of penalties close to the visitor’s try line for a succession of offences in the ruck area. The home forwards made an impact but the Didsbury defence denied all of them tries, stopping Imari Epps just short and then gaining possession.
The visiting defence kept up their solidity as they held off tries from Hamilton and Wallace consecutively. Fourth time lucky however, Wallace finally touched down. The final score was 32-10, Harrogate’s closest game this season.
Player of the match recognition was given to Charlotte Warriner, Izzy Harris and Lauren Clarkson - all of whom had excellent games, with Izzy Harris shining in her debut for the side.
Harrogate will play in the next round of the National Cup this Sunday (17th December). They will take on West Bridgford at the Stratstone Stadium (Rudding Lane, HG3 1DQ) at 2pm.