Narrow win over Morpeth sees Ladies exact revenge
Harrogate RUFC Ladies avenged a heavy defeat to Morpeth earlier in the season when they beat the Northumberland outfit 7-5 in their opening match of 2017.
Lucy Barnett’s side were thrashed 77-0 away from home, but produced a much-improved performance at Rudding Park to secure a narrow victory.
“I’m delighted with the performance,” team manager Barnett said.
“Morpeth are a very tough side and when we played them away they beat us heavily so this is an outstanding result for us.
“Our defence was good and there were some really good turnovers of Morpeth ball. On the whole the girls should be really proud of themselves.”
The pressure was on Harrogate to perform to their optimum after their poor display in their last meeting with Sunday’s opponents, and although the visitors enjoyed the first attack of the day, the home side quickly won back possession and got themselves on the front foot.
Although some of the play was scrappy, the hosts were on top during the opening exchanges.
Twenty minutes in they turned over a Morpeth line-out when flanker Lizzie Goddard-Taylor stole the ball.
Fly-half Jess Wild carried the ball forward then moved it left to number eight Ellie Ward, who in turn found full-back, Ailish Clear.
Clear released winger Leah Birkin, who broke at pace from Harrogate’s 22-metre line, and moving at great speed, she stepped a number of visiting players on her way up the left wing before placing the ball down between the posts.
Clear then added the conversion to put the home team 7-0 in front.
Harrogate took their advantage into half-time, but 10 minutes after the resumption the Northumberland outfit forced their way over the line, but crucially failed to kick the extra two points, leaving them trailing 7-5.
Morpeth pushed hard for a second score but found the home defence tough to break down, and when the visitors did make it over the try-line some fine work from centre Evie Jackson saw them adjudged to be held up as Harrogate held out for victory.