The U18 Girls travelled to Lutterworth on Sunday in the first of their National Cup pool fixtures. With the added pressure of it being the local derby, anticipation was high and, despite the difficult weather conditions, the spectators were certainly not disappointed with the game that followed.
From the outset, the Girls played an expansive game, aided by a dominant scrum. The tackling from all the players was highly impressive and prevented the dangerous Lutterworth runners from penetrating the Harborough defence. With continued pressure, it was Harborough to score first with the Backs linking well to see Sabine Brewster score under the posts; Tia Rich added the conversion. Lutterworth immediately responded, applying pressure on Harborough; however, the defence remained solid. Eventually the ball was turned over and the Harborough Backs made full use of the opportunity, with Grace Standbridge touching down under the posts. Tia’s conversion took Harborough’s lead to 14-0. One aspect of Harborough’s game that wasn’t working so well was the restarts. Having failed to secure clean ball from the restart, Harborough found themselves deep in their own 22; Lutterworth continued to apply pressure and eventually managed to cross the line for a deserved try. Half Time came with the game evenly poised at 7-14.
Harborough started the 2nd Half with the same level of confidence and determination to run the ball; this was soon rewarded with a second try for Grace whose determined running was too much for the opposition defence.
Unfortunately, Harborough’s desire to run the ball from anywhere then back-fired and Lutterworth were gifted an easy 7 points with an interception try.
With only 5 points separating the 2 Teams, the game could have easily slipped away from the Visitors. However, huge credit has to go to Harborough for the grit they then showed. The tackling from everyone was formidable and the ball in hand was excellent, with Forwards & Backs combining really well. The resulting quick recycled ball was fed out to Amber Swinglehurst who powered over the line for her first try as an U18. With growing confidence, Harborough then found another gear; the Forwards were rewarded for their valiant efforts, with a further 2 tries, from Tia & Phoebe Andrews, to conclude the game. Final score 14-34, with a deserved Try Bonus Point Win for the Visitors.
Market Harborough U18s : Phoebe Andrews, Sabine Brewster, Lucy-May Burman, Ruby Evans, Lucy Giles, Pippa Haslam, Ella Herbert (captain), Cassie Holyoak, Hannah Jenkins, Mairead McErlean, Eve Pollard, Tia Rich, Lauren Rollason, Emmy Russell, Grace Standbridge, Amber Swinglehurst, Hannah West