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Harwich & Dovercourt Owls - Match centre

West Norfolk Ladies
Sun 2 Apr 15:00 - Friendly Kickoff 15:00

West Norfolk Ladies 17 H&D Owls 27

This game was a terrific example of how well the women’s game is developing!

Harwich and Dovercourt Owls made the long journey to Kings Lynn to face a West Norfolk side in a friendly for the last game of the season.

With several players unavailable due representing counties’ teams and other commitments this was a perfect opportunity to give three players their first ever game of rugby and other players the chance to play in different positions.

The Owls started strongly, keeping the home side pinned in their own half with some strong running and solid defence. A great break by fly half Beth Blacklock was stopped short of the try line but the visitors quickly recycled the ball a couple of times before Beth Lemessurier crashed over for the first try.

West Norfolk responded strongly from the restart but the Harwich defence was too strong and the Owls were soon back on the offensive. Great breaks by Blacklock and Yas Amber were halted with superb tackles from the home side’s full back but Blacklock eventually evaded the tackles to score her first try.

Centre Lucy Brown, one of those playing her first game was proving to be an evasive runner, and was unlucky on a couple of occasions to be tackled just short of the line. Another new player, Sophie Bruce was more than holding her own in the front row and also showed some great potential with her powerful running. The other newbie, Sally Rippe was a powerhouse in the second row and a solid defender when the Owls were under pressure.

Harwich continued to keep up the attack and Number 8 Lemessurier picked up at the back of a scrum and ran in a try from ten metres out.

West Norfolk’s inside centre was proving to be a handful for Harwich with her power and speed and she scored an excellent try to put the home side on the scoreboard. Full back Amber made another of her trademark breaks and this time avoided the covering fullback to score in the corner. West replied with another good try from the inside centre before Blacklock burst through for her second try which she also converted. Halftime score 10 - 27 to Harwich.

The second half was a much more evenly contested match with both sides going close to scoring. Harwich lost Amber to a knee injury a few minutes into the half but good defensive work stopped any further scoring until the home team’s number 8 found some space in the visitors’ defence to dive over for a converted try.

Sian Smith, playing as a flanker for the first time, was immense in defence and Lauren Richardson also showed potential in that position.

This was a good performance by the Owls and a great opportunity to develop players in alternative positions. West Norfolk provided strong opposition with a team similarly made up of experienced players alongside some new to the game. Overall, it was a terrific example of how well the women’s game is developing.

Report by Walter Blacker

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