'Delight' as unstoppable Harrogate RUFC Ladies wrap up second successive league title

Sarah Foster on the charge during Harrogate RUFC Ladies' victory over Birkenhead Park Panthers. Picture: Richard Bown
Sarah Foster on the charge during Harrogate RUFC Ladies' victory over Birkenhead Park Panthers. Picture: Richard Bown

Harrogate RUFC Ladies’ team manager Lucy Barnett described herself as both “proud” and “delighted” after her side powered to a second successive league title.

The unstoppable Rudding Lane outfit took an unassailable lead at the top of Women’s Championship North Two at the weekend when they thrashed Birkenhead Park Panthers 57-12 away from home.

And despite 'Gate still having three fixtures left to complete, nobody is catching them, 11 wins from as many matches leaving them 23 points clear at the summit.

"I'm delighted. When we got promoted into this division we didn't really know what to expect, but I've been blown away by how well the girls have done," Barnett said.

"To be honest, I thought we'd be challenged more after stepping up a level, but the players have done the same as they did last season, produced some amazing rugby and we've just kept winning games.

"We added some new players, which obviously helped strengthen the squad and we've just got better and better.

"The ethos here at the club is excellent and we are blessed with some fantastic coaches, but in fairness, these girls have worked so very, very hard and that's why they've done as well as they have.

"I couldn't have asked any more from them. I'm really proud."

Although they were only promoted from North East One at the end of last season, the ‘Gate ladies have taken their current division by storm.

They’ve racked up a staggering tally of 555 points in their 11 victories, conceding only 47 along the way.

The aim now, says Barnett, is to finish the regular season with their 100 per cent record intact, then go on and wrap up promotion via a play-off with the winners of Midlands Two.

"It's so far, so good, but we want to finish our league season unbeaten and then obviously the priority is to go and win the play-off," Barnett added.

"We want the challenge of testing ourselves in the Championship next year as we look to continue our progression.

"It's a shame that only one team can get promoted, however it would be no good for us to stay where we are. I don't think it would be much fun for all the other sides in North Two if we were still playing there next season either.

"There are still four teams in contention to win Midlands Two, so we don't know who we'll end up playing in the play-off yet, but it's a game that we're really looking forward to."

The 'Gate Ladies are still competing on two fronts, and in addition to their league campaign, they also have a National Intermediate Cup semi-final at home to Bletchley to tackle on March 24.