HARLEQUINS WOMEN CLINCH PREMIER 15S TITLE WITH VICTORY OVER SARACENS IN GLOUCESTER
Quins came bursting out of the blocks, and instantly found themselves dominating territory and possession.
After a number of promising breaks, it was a penalty from infront of the sticks that gave Quins their first points of the afternoon from the boot of centre Lagi Tuima.
It was just after taking the lead that Quins were forced into an early change, as captain Rachel Burford went off with a knee injury, to be replaced by Izzy Mayhew.
Another three points came shortly after, with a Quins raid into the 22 giving Tuima the opportunity to slot the ball through the sticks again.
Quins didn’t relent on their early pressure and after Tuima’s boot had pinned Saracens into the corner, the trademark driving maul was set up and hooker Amy Cokayne touched down for the first try of the game, with the conversion being edged wide.
In an almost carbon copy of the first try, it was Cokayne at the back of a driving maul that gave Quins’ their second score, and a 16 point lead.
Determined to fight back, Saracens replied almost instantly with a spilled ball in the 22 allowing them to gain possession and build the phases, with Marlie Packer barging over from short range and Zoe Harrison adding the extras.
Quins lost none of their fight however, with Tuima quickly slotting a penalty to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
Despite a Saracens lineout deep inside the 22, the Quins defence caused havoc and forced Saracens to spill their ball, and clear it to hear the half-time whistle.
Both sides kept the intensity up after the break but it was Quins who managed to extend their lead, with Tuima’s boot once again finding the target.
Saracens, determined to find their way back into the game, secured territory inside the 22 and after finding their mark at the lineout built the phases to allow Packer over for her second of the game, with the converison edging wide, narrowing Quins’ lead to 10.
With a sniff of a comeback Saracens threw everything at the Quins defence, camping deep inside the 22.
After Cokayne was sent to the bin for a delibreate knock on, with lock Abbie Ward following shortly after, Quins found themselves defending their slender lead with 13 players, with Sophie De Goede powering over from short range to narow the gap to five.
Determined to keep their grip on the lead, some sprited work from the forwards kept Quins inside the Saracens half, and when a penalty was given out on the touchline Tuima slotted it through to put her side eight points ahead.
Saracens continued to throw everything at the Quins defence, but despite a mammoth effort they could not break through.
As the clock went red, Quins kicked the ball dead to secure the Allianz Premier 15s trophy.