For the superstitious Harlequin members, the new look Twickenham Stoop promised to bring victory and camaraderie to its players. The Harlequin Ladies were rewarded with an impressive crowd of supporters itching to see the Ladies play after a successful men's First XV match against Doncaster on Saturday (1st October), writes Cally Hocknell.
The first half started in a familiar scrappy way, with Quins struggling to make use of the ball in the opening exchanges. However, the home side quickly fine tuned their focus and the action followed suit.
The forwards put in a stronger challenge at the rucks and the backs retained possession well. For the majority of the first half Quins kept Ipswich pinned in their own twenty-two. Ipswich played a patient game despite injury set backs, but suffered a string of handling errors under pressure. A simple but affective backs move saw Kay Rees thunder over the try line to open the scoring and a string of tries soon followed.
Pippa O'Regan worked hard to carry the ball forward and scored a textbook try under the posts, which Cat Smith successfully converted. However, there was no time for complacency and in the unfamiliar winning position, Quins kept their defence solid despite a few threats from the visitors.
O'Regan instigated a further push forward before popping the ball to fellow forward Helen Cushion. Cushion ran a beautiful line up the wing, drawing in two Ipswich defenders before off loading to Rhiannon Needham, who finished the try with remarkable expertise despite it being her first touchdown of the season.
The second half was by no means overshadowed by the first; the supporters cheered heartily and the players kept their heads. Prop Chevonne Rennison pulled off her trade mark try by driving off a ruck on the ten metre line, with more than one Ipswich defender in her wake!
Quins flirted with the prospect of a second try from O'Regan, but it was disallowed for being held-up over the line. Ipswich continued to defend the relentless effort throughout the second half with some sharp breaks from their backs.
Quins responded well by defending with a flat line and forcing the visitors into making handling errors, leaving the 22-0 scoreline unanswered that sealed victory for Quins at the final whistle.
The full time score and smiles after the game reflected the effort put in by the Quins Ladies to secure their first league victory of the season. Ipswich travelled far and still played a tough game, and Quins certainly had to earn their points.
On Saturday the team gave a little taste of the terrier attitude and team effort still to come this season. However, the team are keen not to get carried away and there is still a lot to work on going into the game at Chesham on Sunday (9th October).
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.