Harrogate Ladies shine once again as Southport are thrashed

Action from Harrogate RUFC Ladies' mauling of Southport at the Stratstone Stadium. Picture: Richard Bown
Action from Harrogate RUFC Ladies' mauling of Southport at the Stratstone Stadium. Picture: Richard Bown

Harrogate RUFC Ladies produced another stunning display of attacking rugby as they steamrollered visiting Southport at the Stratstone Stadium.

Lucy Barnett’s team, who put 112 points on Manchester last time out, sit top of the Women’s Championship North Two standings following four wins in as many games

Despite only being promoted at the end of last season, ‘Gate have been running riot thus far, and Sunday’s 79-0 success over the Merseysiders means that they have now scored 308 points and conceded just 15.

Their visitors did begin the game strongly and offered some resistance during the opening 10 minutes, the away pack crashing into the home defensive line without managing to actually break through it.

A Harrogate knock-on then saw Southport awarded the put-in at a scrum, however the hosts won the ball against the head.

Scrum-half Rose Jay picked up and cut through a gap in the away defence, dancing around a couple of opponents before shipping the ball to the left wing where Simone Christopher battled through a tackle on the line and touched down.

A second try followed soon afterwards as a result of more powerful Harrogate scrummaging.

Number eight Anna Hamilton picked up from the base of a scrum on Southport’s five-metre line and dived over to make the score 10-0.

With the home side on a roll, touchdown number three arrived courtesy of some fine teamwork.

The forwards played the phases and the ball eventually made its way from fly-half Kelly Morgan through the centres and then into the hands of full-back Lauren Bolger, who finished off.

With Southport still competing fiercely, Barnett’s charges conceded a number of penalties inside their own half.

They managed to turn the ball over inside their own 22, however, and it was passed to Bolger to clear her lines with a cross-field kick.

Winger Rachel Demoraes led the ‘Gate chase, pipping the visiting defence to the ball, followed by Bolger.

The latter then popped it up to Jay, who sprinted the remaining 40 metres to the Merseysiders’ try-line.

Bolger booted over the extras to bring the score to 22-0.

Harrogate added another touchdown following a driving maul. Captain Jay picked up possession and danced around the defence to score under the sticks, another conversion from Bolger making it 29-0.

Next, prop Grace Keyes ripped the ball away from an opponent at a maul and passed it quickly out to the wing, Bolger sprinting away to finish under the posts and then adding the extra two points herself.

With half-time approaching, a Southport player suffered a nasty injury and necessary medical attention was given.

The second period began after a pitch change, but Harrogate were immediately back on the front foot as Freya Wilde finished off a good team move by touching down just two minutes in.

Shortly after, Evie Jackson scored on the right wing after receiving the ball on halfway and sprinting away from the cover.

Achele Agada then broke through the visiting line and finished herself, Wilde kicking the extras for 55-0.

Though Southport then managed to apply some pressure of their own, Harrogate won a penalty and their forwards combined well, Keyes popping the ball to Hamilton after drawing in the defence, before the latter sprinted away to score and Wilde converted.

n the closing minutes of the game, the home team added three more tries, the pick of which saw Christopher catch a low Jay offload to wrap things up at 79-0.