Date: Sun 24th Oct 2021
After 2 losses at the start of the season, Harlow Ladies came back with a positive mindset, and fighting spirit, coming away with a win against Tabard Ladies on Sunday 24th October. Having worked hard on a mix of technique, communication, and fitness, Harlow’s gameplay was much smoother than previous weeks. Everything clicked; pitch coverage, quicker decisions, and stronger, offensive play, which saw tries come from across the team.
With the home side kicking off and getting their defensive line in place quickly, Harlow put the pressure on almost immediately. After a successful lineout 10 minutes in, the forwards started to consistently push forwards making up ground with a series of decisive passes from front row players Sophie Leighio and Rosie Bennett. With support from the backs, the team worked as one, seeing captain Katie Boggas score the first try of the match at the 15th minute, with a confident conversion from Hannah Walkner.
Getting a huge boost from their first try, Harlow continued to gain ground and covered the pitch well. The ladies constantly found gaps on the outside of Tabards defence, and used these to their advantage with strong runs from Emily Sprake and Sarah Stimpson. These break throughs culminated in a second try from Rosie Bennett, very quickly followed by an unconverted try from Tabard in the 28th minute.
Completely unphased, a quick thinking Captain Katie Boggas caught the ball as it rebounded from a strong tackle by Sophie Figgins, giving Harlow their 3rd try 4 minutes later with a smooth conversion from Hannah Walkner.
Harlow’s 4th and 5th tries came from Katie Boggas and Sarah Stimpson with both players making the most of quick passes from forward Rosie Bennett before running straight through the Tabard defensive line.
After a 3rd conversion from Hannah Walkner, Harlow’s last try of the half came from Megan Sprake, taking possession of the ball as Harlow Scrum Half Bailey Perkins took the brunt of the Tabard defence.
Half time score: Harlow ladies 36 – Tabard ladies 5
Harlow went into the second half with complete confidence not allowing Tabard to push into the home half for the remainder of the match.
Despite losing their first scrum, a superb catch by Emily Sprake gained Harlow good ground, allowing Kira Lewis-McGarty to score her first try of the match within 10 minutes of being back on the pitch.
Seeing an opportunity as Tabard were mostly playing in the centre, Sam Osterburg and Sophie Figgins worked together to set up Harlows’ next try – with Sam passing out to Sophie as she went down in a tackle with Tabards’ number 13. Seeing a gap, Sophie made quick work of her run, scoring her 1st try of the match.
After a last effort from Tabard to push into Harlows’ end, Harlow managed to regain the ground they’d lost. After her quick thinking had helped to set up a few tries in the first half, Rosie Bennett saw her second try of the match in the 36th minute managing to get the ball down in the middle of a ruck right next to the Tabard try line.
After a quick reset, Harlow made one final push in the 38th minute, and saw a ‘blink-and-you’d-miss-it’ try from Nicole Livingstone, bring Harlows’ final score up to 56.
Full time score: Harlow ladies 56 – Tabard ladies 5
“Our standard has been set with this game. We’re reaching much higher playing standards and this shows that our only way now is up. All of our players had a great game and worked incredibly well as a team. Every one of them should look back at this game and say ‘yes, I’m proud of how I played’. Absolutely awesome game.”
Backs Coach Jacob:
“Standards have most definitely been set with this game. This was a great team performance with some stand out individual masterclasses. Everyone should be proud of themselves, and the game they played today.”
Tries: Katie Boggas (C) – 3, Rosie Bennet – 2, Sarah Stimpson – 1, Megan Sprake – 1, Kira Lewis-McGarty – 1, Sophie Figgins – 1, Nicole Livingstone – 1
Conversions: Hannah Walkner – 3
Forward: Sam Osterburg
Back: Katie Boggas