Harrogate RUFC Ladies dig deep in difficult conditions to hold visiting Lichfield Ladies

Harrogate RUFC Ladies had to dig deep in difficult conditions to hold visiting Lichfield to a 10-10 draw on Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, 16th December 2021, 8:38 am
Updated Thursday, 16th December 2021, 8:41 am
Action from Harrogate RUFC Ladies' draw with Lichfield Ladies at Rudding Lane. Pictures: Richard Bown

From the minute the whistle blew at the Apollo Capital Stadium, it was clear that the pace of the game was not going to be anything resembling quick.

Both teams were stuck in the centre of the pitch for some time, battling against the muddy ground and wet weather, which made ball-handling difficult.

Harrogate’s first moment of dominance arrived when their forward pack pulled together and successfully turned an early Lichfield scrum.

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Sunday's result leaves Harrogate sixth in the Women's Championship North Division One table.

The home side then capitalised on a mistake in a maul by the visitors and tried to take the ball forward.

But, despite a series of attacking raid by both teams, the half-time whistle blew with the game still locked at 0-0.

The second period opened with high-flying Lichfield dominating possession, moving through the phases on their way towards the home line.

‘Gate captain Lauren Bolger led by example, however, and produced a try-saving tackle before her team-mates were required to defend a succession of pick-and-go attacks on their own try line.

Unable to penetrate the hosts through the middle, Lichfield passed the ball wide where their winger was met by a Rachel Demoraes tackle which forced an error.

Scrum-half Rose Jay intercepted at speed and ran three quarters of the pitch before kicking the ball over the head of a visiting defender who had managed to catch up with her.

She then landed on the ball before popping it to centre Olivia Howarth, who dived over the whitewash. The extras were added by winger Lucy Richardson and suddenly Harrogate had a 7-0 lead.

Lichfield attempted to force their back back into the contest, but it was the hosts who scored the next points of the game when Richardson kicked a penalty for 10-0.

When play resumed it was Lichfield’s turn to be awarded a penalty, which led to them halving the deficit with an unconverted try in the corner.

‘Gate remained in front until five minutes from full-time, but the visitors eventually managed to cross for a second time, levelling matters at 10-10.

The home side’s player of the match awards were shared between Imogen Kierl, Alisha Hine and Christine Pratt.

Sunday's result leaves Harrogate sixth in the Women's Championship North Division One table with two wins and two draws from their opening eight fixtures of the campaign.