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Harlequins Ladies unstoppable onslaught leads to 36 - 0 win
Driving rain and gusting winds heralded the type of game where each player fights not only the elements but also the desire to stay somewhere warm and dry. Quins Ladies bore the memory of defeat at the hands of Rosslyn Park last season in mind as they stepped up for the first kick off. Great forward driving combined with effective rucking ensured that Rosslyn Park were pressured at every possible moment. Outstanding tackling was executed by backs and forwards alike, notably Nat Smith, Mel Antao and Shannon Mullen, while the wily Zoe Jeanes was all over the opposition making great steals. Not to be outdone, Katy Strudwick put her legs to good use bolting down the wing before receiving a bone-crunching tackle.

Quins Ladies’ scrum drove Park hard allowing Captain Laura Quinn to pick and go with the forwards battling for every inch gained. Superb hands from fly half Jayne Goodliffe sent the ball out to the wing where the notorious B.U.T (Sarah Butler to you and I) outclassed the defence to score. In torrid winds, Goodliffe’s subsequent kick brought smiles to Quins’ faces as it sailed over the posts.

An exquisite catch from hooker Jo Ballentine at the re-start fed into Quins continued attack. Park failed to capitalise on the first line out of the game, knocking the ball on and gifting Quins Ladies with a scrum. The feisty forwards punished the opposing pack at every opportunity while Park’s kicker felt the pressure as Quins Ladies surged forward. Goodliffe hurled herself through the defence and over the line to score, further adding to the points as she once again converted.

Park did not take this lying down and some great play from their line out to their backs saw them strive to pierce the Quins’ defence. Despite Park’s tenacity, Quins Ladies found themselves scrumming on Park’s 5m line. Successive waves of Quins’ forwards eventually sent the ball out to Butler, who scored in the far corner, not converted.

The second half retained all the passion of the first with the blood up and rain lifting. A high tackle Park gave Quins a penalty and sent their offending player to the sin bin. Taking advantage of the moment, Quins Ladies stepped up with a speedy advance following the penalty kick. A scrum was just what was needed and Ros Holder stormed over the line to score for a fourth try and satisfying bonus point. Goodliffe’s kick belied the unruly wind and bounced, disappointingly, off the crossbar.

Quins Ladies built on their momentum now as Butler once more traversed the pitch from Quins’ 10m line to score, again converted by the exceptional Goodliffe. Park kept fighting but with the introduction of fresh substitutes, Quins Ladies looked relentless. A Park scrum on their 22 was turned over and succumbing to the pressure, Park gave away a penalty. The ensuing Quins’ scrum produced a beautiful pick and go for Captain Laura Quinn who dived over the line, unfortunately not converted.

Rosslyn Park were unable to secure a score on the board in the face of such an onslaught and the final score tallied up as 36-0. Another fantastic win for the Ladies who next week face nemeses Thurrock Ladies away – good luck!

Harlequin Ladies’ Squad: Zoe Jeanes (prop), Jo Ballentine (hooker), Katherine Smith (prop), Kate Sinfield (second row), Kyra Howell (second row), Nat Smith (blindside flanker), Claire Brazier-Kobus (open-side flanker), Laura Quinn (number 8 and Team Captain), Amy Smith (scrum half), Jayne Goodliffe (fly half), Mel Antao (winger), Shannon Mullen (centre), Sarah Butler (centre), Katy Strudwick (winger), Rebecca Hickey (fullback). Subs: Alice Gayner, Ros Holder, Janes Hoyes, Lauren Cooper, Alex Leigh, Fiona Eccleston, Jo Everett.

For further information about Harlequin Ladies Football Club, including the range of fabulous sponsorship opportunities we offer, please contact us via email on quinsladies@hotmail.com or click on the website www.harlequinladies.co.uk.

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