Rugby: Howe Harlequins' capital win to finish league season on a high
The last league game of the campaign saw the Howe Harlequins make the trip to Edinburgh to face Broughton last weekend.
After a convincing win the previous week and favourable weather conditions the Quins had every reason to feel confident.
From the kick-off Howe exerted some early pressure and after some good attacking play and direct running by the forwards, centre Niamh Feighan made a good break in to the Broughton 22 only to be tackled just short of the line. Howe were able to recycle quickly and an overlap and some good passing saw full back Christianne Fahey go over for the opening score of the game which was duly converted by Megan Potter.
From the restart Broughton began to come in to the game with their larger pack competing very well at the breakdown. This allowed them to have a sustained period of pressure in the Howe 22 with only superb determination in defence preventing a score. Some notable big hits went in from Fahey and debutante Becky Moncur.
Howe were able to soak up all the pressure and eventually come away with ball through some good running by forwards Phoebe Saunders and Stephanie Craig, allowing a small breather and ending the first half on a positive note.
The second half kicked off with Howe playing uphill on a not inconsiderable slope and again started brightly with some big carries from Adelle Ferrie and Megan Potter. However, in what was to prove a frustrating day in attack for Howe, they were unable to sustain any real pressure and it wasn’t long before Broughton were again on the front foot.
With Howe defending for most of the first 20 minutes of the second half and some big tackles going in from centres Eve Irving, Niamh Fiegahn and prop Megan Reid-Schachter.
It was not to last though and eventually Broughton found a gap in the Howe defence to touch down wide on the right. And with the successful conversion the scores were tied up at 7 - 7 with 15 minutes left to play.
With the game finely balanced it was going to take a moment of magic from either side to seal the win. Fortunately it came from Howe, following some good driving play to take them up to the half way line captain Emma Wood took a short pass from the ruck and burst through the defence to score under the posts. The conversion attempt unsuccessful on this occasion.
This left the score 12-7 to Howe with seven minutes remaining. Broughton were throwing everything they had at the Howe defence which stood firm and after turning the ball over Howe were able to relieve the pressure with some excellent running by Fiegahn and Fahey to take Howe back in to the Broughton 22. Some good hands saw winger Liana Mitchell step inside two tackles only to be stopped just short of the line.
Following some good phase play Broughton infringed at the breakdown conceding a penalty just to the left of the posts and again Megan Potter was on hand to slot it home followed by the referee’s whistle signalling full time.
There can be no doubt that the grit and determination in the Harlequins defence won the day.
This result ensured Howe Harlequins finished National League 1-B in second position.