Second day of a most pleasant weekend had ickledot heading to Rudding Park just outside Harrogate, to witness Harrogate Ladies playing their National Inter Cup quarter final against Bishop Auckland. They’re having another great season in the league but now the challenge was of a knock out nature.
The first few forays following kick off saw Bishop Auckland on the offensive and the home side having to defend stoutly. Clearly strong in the forwards, the visitors pummelled the Harrogate defensive line and looked likely to break through. However, home tension was lifted as scrum half Rose Jay collected the ball midfield and raced through to score under the posts. As with several scores during the game, the break was so quick that ickledot had no time to switch cameras; the long lens quickly became too long!
That first try set the pattern for the rest of the game really. While Harrogate were matched and occasionally beaten in scrums and mauls, they had speed and strength in the backs, which Bishop Auckland lacked, in order to break through and outpace their opponents’ defence.
It was pretty relentless really. In addition to the pace of Rose Jay, Anna Hamilton and Lauren Bolger through the centre, the Bishop Auckland defence was also threatened on the flanks by Rachel Demoraes down the left and Simone Christopher on the right. Consequently, points came from all sections of the field.
Bishop Auckland certainly did not give in though; their challenge was maintained throughout the game and they were rewarded with points in the second half. Two tries brought them a final tally of ten points. Harrogate were certainly not done with scoring in the second forty though.
There were further tries from Lauren Bolger, Sophie Wilson and others to bring a score of 41 at the final whistle. This had certainly been a strong test for Harrogate. As jubilant team manager Lucy Barnett told me afterwards, her squad knew that opponents Bishop Auckland needed to be respected. They are currently riding high in the league just below Harrogate.
With so much attacking play to photograph it’s been quite difficult selecting the favourites for this page. Why not go over to the ickledot shop to see if I’ve chosen well? It’s off to the semi final for Harrogate. They have a home draw against Bletchley Ladies on 24 March. Get the date in your diary!