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Thurrock thwart Quin's Ladies perfect tally
‘Nervous anticipation’ doesn’t come close to describing the emotions permeating the frigid conditions of Sunday afternoon as Quins Ladies stepped up to face Thurrock’s T-Birds. Despite careful pre-game preparation, temperatures were up from before the whistle even blew and barely into the game, Quins were down a player. Reaping reward from Quins’ temporary re-jigging in the forwards, Thurrock pushed home their advantage and took the ball wide to grasp the first points of the game, missing the conversion. While Quins were taking time to settle into the blood match, Thurrock collected the kick and spotting a break in the defence, galloped over the try line for another unconverted try. Each contact area and piece of play was characterised by the intensity of an illegal dogfight and possession eluded Quins, gifting Thurrock with their third try, this time converted.

As the pressure stacked up on Quins Ladies, a ray of light shone on the pitch courtesy of Thurrock’s tenacity at the break down. Two superbly converted penalties from Jayne Goodliffe saw Quins accrue their first points of the game and the spectators on the sideline bay for more. Scrappy ball at the line out was won by scrum half Amy Smith and passed along the line to waiting Zoe Eaton, making her debut for Quins Ladies. Storming over the try line, she brought Quins their first try of the game, unfortunately not converted.

Quins returned to the pitch after half time with the taste of blood in their mouths. Aggressively attacking the opposition, the shoe was now on the other foot, but was it enough to take Quins Ladies through to a victory?

A wild Thurrock kick that begged for touch was caught by Katy Strudwick’s safe hands and gathered momentum up the pitch. A Thurrock yellow card and Quins’ scrum preceded a great pick and go by Captain Laura Quinn as she ran in their second try of the game, unconverted.

Hearts were most definitely in mouths as the tantalising score of 16-17 raised hopes on the sideline and as Thurrock kicked off, the end was almost in sight. Kay Rees made a break through deep in Quins’ own half to bring the Ladies into attacking play as they forced themselves back into the game.

In spite of the Ladies’ valiant efforts, a decisive score evaded them and as the end drew near, the deferential regard with which this game had been held perhaps worked against them. One final attack mounted by the T-birds crushed dreams of an undefeated season as they took the ball over the line for their final try, unconverted.

Disappointment was etched on faces as Quins Ladies said goodbye to Forward of the Match Zoe Jeanes who departs for a year of travelling, all the best Zoe – miss you already!

Forward of the match: Zoe Jeanes
Back of the match: Zoe Eaton

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

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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