Having surrendered a 17 point lead to draw 17-17 at home back in November, an apprehensive T-birds side travelled to Roehampton Vale to meet top of the Table Harlequins.
With almost no training since early December and compounded with traffic problems, a late arrival and almost no warm up, this very young and inexperienced T’s side faced up to the league leaders with some trepidation.
The referee set his stall out early and pinged Ts at the first tackle for not rolling away but the normal early T’s pressure kept Quins in their own half for the first 5 minutes.
With T’s attacking, the ref kept his standards high and sin binned a Quins player for a nasty and obvious stamp. Knowing that this 10 minutes could be vital, T’s let loose.
A T’s knock on gave Quins a scrum inside their own 22 but powerfully pushing round past 90 degrees T’s claimed the turnover. Moving the ball wide from the scrum, Ts found winger Dannie Harris waiting who then skinned her opposite number to dive in at the corner. The conversion was missed but 0-5 after 6 minutes was a fine start.
Kat Emerson at 10 was now finding space and only a few minutes later again ran a move to find space out wide. Lauren Kidd entering the line from Full Back again found a corner to touch down. 9 minutes 0-10.
With the Quins backs now having to defend wider, Kat Emerson popped out of the next breakdown with the ball, stepped the full back and touched down under the posts, 4 T’s players in support but no defenders in sight. 11 minutes played, the score 0-17.
Quins were now desperate for points and pushed hard into T’s territory and at 15 minutes from the T’s backs offside they kicked the resulting penalty for 3-17.
Points on the board raised Quin’s spirits and again they drove into kicking range to await T’s inexperienced backs straying offside and again conceding 3 points. 19 minutes 6-17.
Quins now kept the ball for a period of sustained pressure and started to get on top. Despite resolute defence from the Ts, Quins finally broached the try line on 29 minutes, bringing the score to 11-17 where it remained until half time.
Within a few minutes of the restart, the ref evened things up with a very soft Yellow card and sin bin for T’s Jenny Mountjoy, admittedly “in at the side”, but a long way out and not an obvious scoring opportunity.
Quins then exploited the resulting space to score in the corner bringing the score to a finely balanced 16-17.
Despite the Sin bin lasting 16 minutes, Quins were unable to convert pressure into more points.
For the next 20 minutes the game swung back and forth. Incessant pressure from Quins who were now bossing the breakdown, but every time the T’s backs saw the ball they looked likely to score, last ditch tackles denying Ts several times.
With 39 minutes played, Ts finally completed another backs move with Lauren Kidd again crossing the whitewash for her brace. The conversion was missed, but 16-22 meant that a try alone would not be enough for Quins who kept up the pressure until the final whistle.
Lauren Kidd was player of the match for her brace of trys.
This result throws the league wide open, Ts in 3rd place but with games in hand on those above.
Next home game is local rivals Romford and Gidea Park, with Ts hoping for a St Valentine’s day massacre on the 14th of February.
The game will be preceded with a VP’s Dinner, tickets from the club at £15.