Unstoppable Harrogate Ladies score 17 tries in demolition of visiting Manchester

Unstoppable: Sarah Foster dives over the line during Harrogate RUFC Ladies' rout of Manchester. Pictures: Richard Bown
Unstoppable: Sarah Foster dives over the line during Harrogate RUFC Ladies' rout of Manchester. Pictures: Richard Bown

Harrogate RUFC Ladies produced a ruthless display of attacking rugby, racking up a century of points against Manchester at Rudding Lane.

Three games into their first ever season in Women's National Championship North Two, Lucy Barnett's newly-promoted team sit comfortably at the top of the table following Sunday's 17-try rout.

Achele Agada on the charge.

Achele Agada on the charge.

Within five minutes of kick-off, Harrogate had scored twice and this was to prove a sign of things to come.

The first try arrived following a well-timed offload from centre Kelly Morgan before the speed of full-back Lauren Bolger took her over the white wash.

The second came from a quick penalty taken by captain Rose Jay, who passed wide to Bolger to finish once again.

With one successful conversion added, the hosts were 12-0 up and off to a flying start.

Captain Rose Jay gets her hands on the ball.

Captain Rose Jay gets her hands on the ball.

The home forwards then made their mark by winning a Manchester scrum soon after the re-start.

Number eight Anna Hamilton made a powerful run before passing to prop Amber Barnicoat who charged through the middle of the away defence and offloaded to Jay to finish out wide.

Harrogate then piled on the pressure and backed Manchester into a corner. The visitors attempted to clear their lines, but the kick was picked up by Bolger and she ran through a scattered defence and under the posts to complete her hat-trick.

Bolger kicked over the extras herself to make the score 24-0.

Imari Epps applies the finishing touch.

Imari Epps applies the finishing touch.

With the visitors playing most of their rugby through the centre of the pitch, Barnett's charges were able to keep shipping the ball wide and use the athleticism of their backs to score on the outside.

Further touchdowns arrived courtesy of Sophie Wilson, Sarah Foster and Celine Almond, two of which were converted by Bolger.

Forward Achele Agada then powered through from halfway to score the final try of the half, moving the scoreline on to 57-0.

There was no let up after the interval and the scores kept coming, though their frequency did not truly reflect the quality of the opposition, who continued to fight on bravely.

Simone Christopher goes over for 'Gate.

Simone Christopher goes over for 'Gate.

Agada touched down for a second time, followed by a try prop Imari Epps, a well-deserved reward for a series of powerful tackles.

Winger Celine Almond added the extras before 'Gate lost a player to a yellow card and, while down to 14, conceded a try as Manchester got themselves up and running for the afternoon.

The touchdowns kept on coming for the home team, however, with Foster bagging her second of the day.

Powerful runs from forwards Chrissy Pratt and Barnicoat then resulted in Evie Jackson and Jay touching down too, Almond converting on each occasion as the score increased to 90-5.

With 10 minutes remaining, Harrogate still had time to add more, winger Simone Christopher twice making it over the line and Charlotte Warriner grabbing her first of the match after an impactful run from second row Martha Riggs.

That rounded off the scoring at 112-5, with 'Gate now due to tackle Southport at the Stratstone Stadium this Sunday (kick-off TBC). Supporters welcome.

Sarah Foster hands-off an opponent.

Sarah Foster hands-off an opponent.