Date: Sun 20th Mar 2022
On Sunday 20th March, after a 4-week break, the Harlow Ladies hosted Fullerians Ladies in their last Home game of the season. And, how they came out fighting! To add to the spirit, the Harlow Minis welcomed the Teams out with a Guard of Honour. Having worked hard on a mix of tactical plays, defensive speed and ball handling, Harlow’s gameplay was hard to match. It was great to see many spectators who enjoyed both the game and the spring sunshine!
With the opposition kicking off, Harlow were able to gain possession and demonstrate their attacking abilities. Utilising hard carrying forwards as well as the backs, who found themselves in lots of space. Harlow were able to keep possession and worked their way to the oppositions try line and it wasn’t long before Rosie Bennet crossed the line under the posts for the first try of the game, with Hannah Walkner delivering a smooth conversion.
The opposition failed to kick the ball over the 10m line from the kick off resulting in a scrum on the halfway line, with Harlow in possession. Scrums were uncontested for the entirety of the game meaning Harlow were guaranteed to secure the ball from the scrum. This allowed the backs freedom to showcase the tactical moves they had been working on, off set piece plays. Both forwards and backs again demonstrating their strengths to break through the defence and gain important ground in the oppositions half. Harlow were well structured throughout the game, with Nicole Livingstone controlling the game well from the fly half position. Following a ruck, the ball was distributed through the backs, with excellent ball handling skills, Harlow found space on the outside allowing Captain Katie Boggas to stretch her legs and score under the posts. Another successful conversion from Hannah gave Harlow a good lead after 20 minutes.
Despite some excellent defending across the team, Fullerians were able to break through Harlow’s defence and score an unconverted try in the 25th minute.
Harlow didn’t allow the Fullerians try to halt their momentum and got themselves straight back in to the game. Everything that Harlow was doing throughout the game was going well; lineout was functioning, defensive line was strong and tactical plays were being effectively executed. From the Harlow kick off, Harlow were able to quickly gain possession from an opposition error. Continuing with their excellent handling skills, Harlow were able to maintain possession moving the ball well between players to execute the game plan. Keeping possession, Harlow were able to find gaps in the Fullerians defence; Katie Boggas dancing through the staggered defence and crossing the line for her second try of the day in the 32nd minute. Followed by a successful conversion from Hannah.
Gaining possession again from the kick off, Harlow spent the remainder of the first half breaking down the Fullerians defence gaining metres at each opportunity. Harlow worked themselves into the oppositions 5m area where Rosie Bennet crossed for her second try of the day, Hannah adding the extras – a perfect first half from the tee.
Harlow went into half time with a comfortable lead and full of confidence.
Half Time Score – Harlow Ladies 28 – 5 Fullerians Ladies
It was a perfect start in the second half, a fantastic kick off from Nicole saw Harlow catch the kick; continuing the momentum from the first half. Harlow were able to get the ball wide to Hannah who was able to fool the defence with several dummy passes before crossing the line in the 42nd minute for the first try in the second half and adding the conversion herself too.
Throughout the second half, the coaches made several changes bringing on subs and also changing players positions to allow the team to try some new things. Fullerians were defending well as Harlow were able to keep possession for large periods in the game. A Harlow scrum in the opposition 22m area gave the backs an opportunity to exhibit a tactical play that saw Emily Sprake receive the ball from the 13 in the inside channel. Backing her pace, Emily crossed over for Harlow’s 6th try of the game in the 55th minute.
When in possession, Fullerians began using their kicking game to try and pin Harlow in their half. Fullerians had possession at a lineout in the Harlow 22m area, Harlow were set to defend but a steal by Sam Osterburg at the top of the lineout gave Harlow possession. The back line efficiently shifted to an attacking line to allow Harlow to gain important metres and exit their 22m area. At the base of a ruck Kirstie Wright utilised her box kick to send Fullerians back into their half. Harlow defended well, not allowing Fullerians to break through and pinning them in their own 22m area. Harlow were awarded a succession of penalties; choosing to use their strong carry forwards in pods to break down the defence. When space became available out wide, the ball was distributed to the backs where Katie Boggas crossed the line to secure her hattrick in the 67th minute.
Again, Fullerians tried to pin Harlow back by utilising their kicking game; the back three were well prepared for this and were ready to receive any kick that Fullerians put up for them. Harlow continued the momentum they had from the start of the game and stuck to their processes, breaking down the defence and gaining ground with every carry of the ball. The ball was distributed throughout all players switching from forward carriers to the backs seamlessly, and vice versa. Harlow kept moving forward, Kira Lewis-McGarty received the ball and crossed the line to score the final try of the game in the 75th minute. Hannah was able to add the conversion successfully.
There were no further points scored, Harlow continued to play their game, driving forward, and spending more time in Fullerians half than their own and not slowing down towards the end of the game. The team oozed confidence throughout the game, making use of the full pitch and utilising strong forward carriers and the pace of the backs. This gave Harlow a strong idea of their strengths and showed that what they’re doing in training is building their game play.
Full Time Score – Harlow Ladies 52 – 5 Fullerians Ladies
1: Emily Pridmore, 2: Sophie Leighio, 3: Rosie Bennett, 4: Sam Osterburg, 5: Megan Sprake, 6: Emma Hayes, 7: Sarah Stimspon, 8: Kira Lewis-McGarty, 9: Kirstie Wright, 10: Nicole Livingstone, 11: Bailey Perkins, 12: Hannah Walkner, 13: Katie Boggas (C), 14: Sophie Figgins, 15: Emily Sprake, 16: Kelly Smith, 17: Tracey Wedd, 18: Nicola Shambrook, 19: Julie Bailey, 20: Emma Warr, 21: Rebecca Kitson
Rosie Bennett (2)
Katie Boggas (3)
Hannah Walkner (6)
Back – Hannah Walkner
Forward – Rosie Bennett
“After a long break, the Ladies stepped up their game and showed what we can do. The defence and attacking lines were awesome. We have been working hard on these and it’s seen to be paying off in our games. Unfortunately, it was uncontested scrums which meant we couldn’t showcase the work we have put in. In previous games, we have had a very strong scrum, dominating in most of our games. The ladies adapted being uncontested and played it to our advantage. This game gave us chance to try different options with the team set up and positions. We have our last game of the season coming up, away to OAs on the 3rd of April. We will have such a great game, playing our game, to the level we have set. I’m so proud of the way all the ladies have progressed this season. Well done Harlow ladies.”
Neil Boggas – Head Coach
“We have really showed an absolute huge improvement from the start of our season. With new players coming in, the whole squad have such a good chemistry together it’s great to see. This match gave us a chance to try new things, new positions and the tactics paid off. Both of us are really excited about next season and where we can head now! Well done ladies very proud coaches!”
Jacob Adams – Backs Coach