On a damp November afternoon the Harborough under 18s girls faced local rivals Kettering in the first of three fixtures over the next two months. Despite the weather, the girls were determined to play some attractive running rugby as they built on the recent success of their cup victory against Lutterworth - they did not disappoint.
Harborough started strongly with some fluent running rugby and soon crossed for an excellent try by fullback speedster Grace. Another soon followed after some quick thinking by number 8 Tia, who went blind from the base of a scrum and sped over from 40 metres out before the opposition realised what was happening. Another try for Grace soon followed after some fine handling by the backs and a lovely off load from debutant Sophie. However, it wasn't all one way traffic as a determined Kettering, using their strong runners to good effect, scored two tries of their own. Also notable in attack for the Kettering team was our own Lucy, who kindly agreed to play for the opposition to ensure the game was fair and competitive. Well done Lucy.
Harborough started the second half strongly, with Grace soon running in a fine long range effort to complete her hat trick. Although Harborough looked very threatening at this stage, several injuries forced some positional reshuffling in the ranks and the team temporarily lost momentum. Kettering capitalised on a few Harborough handling errors and came back strongly to score two more tries, bringing the teams to within 7 points midway through the second half. Harborough's loyal supporters need not have worried, the result was never in doubt. Harborough, galvanised by some aggressive defence, rallied hard and scored four more tries as they dominated the final quarter - all of them fine efforts from long range after some slick team handling - two tries for speedy debutant Sophie, one for our tireless captain Ella and one for Fran (who strode in majestically from long range).
The sundries were added by Tia and little Hannah with three conversions each. The final score was Market Harborough 52 - Kettering 24.
It was an entertaining match for our loyal supporters to enjoy. The girls scored eight fine tries and showed a positive attitude throughout the match. Although injury and unavailability meant that some players had to play out of position, everyone threw themselves into the game without complaint and showed great commitment to the cause. The girls have been working hard on improving their defensive line speed and regularly forced the opposition into error with some heavy and committed tackling. Congratulations to Sophie and Carys on their under 18 debuts. All the best to fly half Hannah and Tia who will hopefully quickly recover from todays injuries, as the girls now head into an important stage of the season with cup games against Barker Butts and Old Northamptonians in early December.