Saturday's (12th February) friendly saw a disappointing result for the Harlequin Ladies against Hammersmith & Fulham, with their half-hearted approach ultimately costing them the game, writes Jo Everett.
The contest opened with a series of errors by Quins after receiving the kick-off and within minutes Hammersmith had stolen possession and broken through to score. The Ladies now began to focus on the game and worked their way into Hammersmith's half. The breakdowns were fiercely contested but all too often Quins took the ball too high into contact allowing Hammersmith to steal possession.
When Hammersmith conceded a penalty inside their own twenty-two, Quins took the ball forward and recycled well, with captain Vicky Gallagher crashing through to equalise. Although the Ladies were able to keep play deep in the opposition half for the rest of the first half, the well organised Hammersmith defence kept them from crossing the line.
The second half opened with another strong attack by the visitors and a disorganised Quins defence allowed them through for their second try. The home side retaliated with some strong runs into the opposition half, but too many needless errors prevented them from scoring. Eventually, it was through a penalty, then a driving maul, that second row forward Kyra Howell touched down for Quins.
When further errors in defence let Hammersmith through for their third try, which was successfully converted, Quins once again needed to raise their game. The Ladies forced their way into Hammersmith's twenty-two and the pace of outside centre Tanya Lee took the hosts to within two points of a draw. However, with the wind against them, the conversion was missed and it left Quins with yet another defeat.
The Ladies may have used the game as a training opportunity for many new players, but as a squad they need to think hard about the errors that were made. They will need to step up their game and tighten up their ball retention before their next crucial league fixture at home to Ipswich on Sunday 6th March.
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.