Harrogate RUFC Ladies went top of the pile following a 58-5 rout of Halifax at the Stratstone Stadium on Sunday, their third consecutive win since the start of the season.
Lucy Barnett’s side were only promoted to Women’s National Challenge North East One at the end of the previous campaign, but have adapted to life at a higher level superbly and boast a 100 per cent record.
The home side took charge straight from kick-off and registered two tries within the opening five minutes.
Halifax conceded an early penalty on their own 22, and with no hesitation, number eight Ellie Ward took the ball on and over the whitewash.
Three minutes later, centre Evie Jackson shipped the ball wide for Simone Christopher who went over in the corner.
Halifax managed to make some ground of their own in attack, but ‘Gate soon came back at them and scrum-half Leah Birkin spread the play, allowing Jackson to step the defence and touch down.
Prop Lizzie Mason then made a powerful charge through the visitors’ defesive line and scored under the posts, Birkin booting over the extras for 22-0.
From the re-start, Amber Barnicoat took possession and carried well, making it back into the opposition’s half of the pitch before releasing a cute inside ball to fly-half, Rose Jay.
The Harrogate number 10 took off, dancing around multiple defenders and crossing the line to ensure that the hosts took a 27-point lead into the half-time interval.
Halifax began the second period brightly, but after five minutes of play a turnover by Jess Young allowed the ‘Gate backs to move the ball through the hands for Steph Lynes to score out wide for a 32-0 advantage.
The home team then added to their tally, once again straight from the the Halifax re-start. Evie Tonkin caught the visitors’ kick-off and then advanced up the right flank before touching down.
The away side raised their game significantly at this point and ‘Gate were forced to defend for a period until they were able to take advantage of a loose ball on half way, Tonkin breaking through to score her second try then kicking over the extras for 44-0.
Again, the hosts were able to extend their advantage from the Halifax kick-off as Lizzy Goddard-Taylor ran through several attempted tackles and dotted the ball down on the hour-mark, Tonkin converting.
A knock-on then allowed Jay to break up the left and register her second score before Tonkin’s third successful conversion made it 58-0, the visitors eventually breaking through for a consolation try in the last minute.