Harrogate Ladies sink Ashfield to register second successive win

Evie Jackson was a try-scorer for Harrogate RUFC Ladies at Ashfield. Picture: Caught Light Photography
Evie Jackson was a try-scorer for Harrogate RUFC Ladies at Ashfield. Picture: Caught Light Photography

Harrogate RUFC Ladies made it two wins in as many games when they returned from their trip to Ashfield with a 27-15 success.

Lucy Barnett’s side got their latest Women’s National Challenge North East One clash underway with a strong kick that forced a knock-on from a home player.

A hectic opening 15 minutes then saw possession changing hands rapidly, a series of penalties awarded and eventually an opening score from Ashfield as their scrum-half broke the Harrogate defence and dived over the line.

The home team’s lead was short lived, however, as visiting prop Amber Barnicoat responded with force, driving hard at the Ashfield defence.

Despite a fumble close to the try-line, Harrogate did well to regain possession and second row Fran Hoyde registered her side’s first touchdown of the afternoon just 20 minutes into her league debut for the club.

More powerful play was to follow from Barnett’s charges with impressive forward runs from Barnicoat and number eight Ellie Ward.

Having gone through a number of phases with the ball in the forwards, it was the Harrogate backs’ opportunity to show what they could do.

The ball was shipped out to fly-half Rose Jay who side-stepped and then outpaced the Ashfield defence before touching down for her side’s second try in the space of two minutes.

Full-back Ailish Clear added the extras and took the score to 12-5 in the visitor’s favour.

Following their second try of the match, the Harrogate backs began to dominate the field, applying pressure as a unit before the quick thinking of scrum-half Leah Birkin saw her dive over the defence and the whitewash to register a third.

The backs continued to control proceedings and, following some smart passing and interplay, centre Evie Jackson crossed the line to grab try number four just before half-time, moving the score on to 22-5

With one play left before the interval, an Ashfield player managed to power through Harrogate defence line to reduce the deficit at 22-10.

The hosts began the second period in similar fashion to how they had ended the first, breaking through a stunned Harrogate defensive line one minute after the resumption and adding another try to trim the gap further at 22-15.

Both teams saw players sin-binned as Ashfield began to dominate and the away side were pinned back in their own half for long periods of time, however, their defence remained resolute.

Eventually the visitors managed to break out and, against the run of play Jess Young forced herself over the try-line for a debut score that put a seal on victory at 27-15.