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Harlequins Ladies rout Romford and rack up a bonus point
Another trip to the wilds of Essex for Quins Ladies to do battle with Romford & Gidea Park … Romford kicked to start, Lauren Cooper adeptly caught the ball, picked up by Kay Rees and offloaded to Jayne Goodliffe. Goodliffe ran 20 yards and popped off to Shannon Mullen, closely supporting the speedy fly-half, who beat several defenders to score under the posts, unfortunately not converted but a great start to the game!

Romford kept their heads up and their legs pumping as they advanced from their re-start, only to have the ball stolen by centre Rees. Captain Laura Quinn erupted up the pitch to the 10 metre line as Quins Ladies build up the momentum of their assault. The ball found the electric Goodliffe who scored under the posts, unconverted. Undaunted, Romford doggedly persisted in their offensive, good running delivering a couple of missed tackles by Quins, only for full back Fi Eccleston to make a try-saving tackle then cleared by Goodliffe. Leading from the front, Quinn pushed into Romford’s half and some stylish forwards’ moves gifted the ball to the back line who put on a show of their development. Returning to the forwards, hooker Jo Ballentine dug her way over the line to score, unconverted.

With a penalty kick to touch, Romford took a line out in Quins’ 22 and from the base of a solid catch and drive took the ball out to the wing who pelted down the field towards the tantalising try line. Try as Romford might however, Eccleston was steadfast in her defence, once more making a great tackle and forcing a Romford knock on. Breaking from the back of the scrum, Goodliffe was shot the ball and ran from Quins’ 22 to the Romford try line, beating three defenders with her pace and thrilling feet, only for the ball to be turned over. Great support by the forwards presented another opportunity nonetheless and Ballentine found another score, unconverted.

A superb line out from Kyra Howell stole the ball from Romford. Out to the backs, Rees sprinted from Quins’ 10 metre line to just short of the Romford try line, getting tackled but popping to supporting winger Alex Leigh who was held up over the line. The subsequent Quins scrum sent Zoe Jeanes over the line, unconverted.

Some skilled work from the backline at the start of the second half saw Goodliffe over the try line but no try was called and a 22 drop out ensued. Rees almost broke through to Romford’s half only for the home side to give away a penalty. Quins took advantage with a quick tap and go as Nat Smith eloquently demonstrated great feet, sidestepping two defenders to score under the posts, converted.

Quins counter attacked from a stolen Romford scrum – a good offload from the centres to the fresh legs of Katy Strudwick saw the gas go on and some significant yardage made. Rees soon had her hands on the ball again and made 50 yards herself before being tackled, an inspired offload to Mullen precipitating another try however, converted. Amy Gibbons returned to the field at fly-half for the first time this season, comfortably finding her feet as Goodliffe shifted to full-back.

Romford tried to penetrate the foolproof Quins’ defence, but it was not to be as both forwards and backs alike fronted up to Romford’s attacks. Quins took possession and countered with quick hands for Goodliffe, who once more traversed the pitch and scored under the posts, also converting. A beautiful take from the re-start by Amy Smith and an exquisite offload to Hannah Clarke took Quins back down the field. From the Quins scrum, a blindside move gave the ball to Leigh who was unable to break free from the defence and was tackled into touch. A Romford catch and drive from the line out failed to secure the ball and a Quins scrum rewarded the forwards with one of their season’s aims – a drive over the line to score, unconverted. The whistle blew on another fantastic achievement for Quins Ladies – halfway through the season and still currently top of the League!

Final score 0-51

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all the Ladies, families and friends and especially to all those who support us!

Forward of the match: Nat Smith
Back of the match: Amy Smith

Harlequin Ladies’ Squad: Zoe Jeanes (prop), Jo Ballentine (hooker), Katherine Smith (prop), Ros Holder (second row), Kyra Howell (second row), Lauren Cooper (blindside flanker), Nat Smith (open-side flanker), Laura Quinn (number 8 and Team Captain), Amy Smith (scrum half), Jayne Goodliffe (fly half), Alex Leigh (winger), Kay Rees (centre), Shannon Mullen (centre), Mel Antao (winger), Fi Eccleston (fullback). Subs: Hannah Clarke, Kate Sinfield, Amy Gibbons, Katy Strudwick.

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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