With a break in their hectic league schedule, the Harlequin Ladies travelled to Beckenham last Sunday (1st December 2002) for a friendly fixture, and came away with a convincing victory by 24-0.
The game was used as a training opportunity, with Quins giving new players more match experience and trying others in new positions, writes Jo Everett.
After a difficult journey and very little time to warm-up, the game got off to a very unsettled start, with many errors being made by both sides. The match then began to settle into more organised patterns of play.
Quins started to put increasing amounts of pressure on the home team and to break-up their defensive line. This allowed Dani Knight, at fly half, to run through the gap and open the scoring for the visitors.
On receiving Beckenham's restart, Harlequins were quick to work their way back into the opposition half, but the home side worked hard to keep Quins from crossing the try line again. It was a strong drive by the Quins pack that finally forced its way over, with number eight Alex Burbidge claiming the score.
Harlequins nearly scored again just before half-time, with outside-centre Gemma Athorn intercepting the ball and racing towards the line. However, she was just metres away when the Beckenham defence brought her down.
The second half saw Beckenham trying to kick their way into better field positions, but on every occasion the visitors ran the ball straight back at them. Quins continued to dominate possession throughout the second half, but Beckenham put-up a strong defence and tackled well.
With Quins repeatedly stealing possession from Beckenham, Burbidge soon found the opportunity to breakthrough and score her second try of the game.
Beckenham refused to give up and when they were awarded a penalty close to the half-way line, a well-positioned kick soon had Harlequins defending right on their own try line.
Once they had kicked their way out of trouble though, Quins began to make better use of the speed of their backs and created the overlaps needed to get around the Beckenham defence. It was from an overlap that winger Jane Wilson ran in Harlequins final try.
Jo Morgan's conversions made the final score 24-0 and it proved to be a very satisfying afternoon for the Harlequin Ladies, who face Chesham at home on Sunday (8th December 2002).
Harlequins fan Ed Atkin won the Etihad Airways 'Up and Under' competition at the Northampton Saints game. As a result, he and a friend have won a holiday to Abu Dhabi courtesy of Etihad Airways and the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.