BT Bowl final for Harlequins after just two years together

Howe Harlequins v Annan
Howe Harlequins v Annan

Just a couple of years ago a group of ladies calling themselves the Howe Harlequins met casually to get fit through rugby.

But in that very short period of time that nucleus of players has developed from a bunch of pals training with each other socially into one of the country’s finest women’s rugby sides.

Coaches Gavin Anderson and Craig Manson were key to helping the group of women getting fit, with a rugby ball occasionally involved.

They have since expanded to include Ian Cole and ex-England international Mandy Palmer-Norrie.

And after a 42-5 victory over Annan at the weekend, the Harlequins are preparing for the finals of the BT Women’s Bowl, which will take place at BT Murrayfield on April 16 against Glasgow University.

After becoming a rugby team, the ‘Quins joined the National Development League (NDL) for a season of progress.

Many of the women who joined the Harlequins had never touched a rugby ball before, but were guided by some who had years of experience.

After a season of NDL, the coaching team decided that the ‘Quins were ready to take on regular league rugby and joined National 2.

It didn’t take them long to find their bearings and they currently sit third in the league, as well as having reached the Bowl final.

On Sunday there was an electric atmosphere at Duffus Park as the ‘Quins prepared to play Annan.

Claire Jackson scored the first try of the match which was beautifully converted by prop Phoebe Saunders.

Tries were also scored by Mandy Palmer-Norrie, who got her first of two tries for the day, and prop Emma Wood who added to the forwards’ haul with a try of her own.

Erin Watson scored soon afterwards, followed by winger Vicki Davies with her first try for the Harlequins.

In the second half Palmer-Norrie scored again, and Scotland U20s player Nicola Howat ran half a pitch to get the ball over the line.

Thoughts soon turned to the finals, and another chapter in this remarkable Howe Harlequins story.