Saturday’s weather would have made you think that round 4 of the Allianz Premier 15’s would be a day for the purest but it was anything but. With a near full grandstand at the Alpas Arena, there was big support for the cherry and whites.
Gloucester-Hartpury made their intentions clear from the start. A dominant scrum, 10m out from the Harlequins try line gave the home side the platform to strike. Quick hands from Mo Hunt and Emma Sing saw the in form Kelly Smith dive over the try line after 7 minutes.
With the score now at 5-0 it was Harlequins turn to pile on the pressure. Harlequins retained possession off a centre scrum just inside the Gloucester-Hartpury 40m. After numerous phases it was ex-Hartpury student Ellie Kildunne who broke through the line and dotted the ball under the posts for the visitors. This brought the score to 5-7 after 18 minutes of play. This would be the last time Harlequins would see themselves inside the Gloucester-Hartpury 22m this half.
The home side struck back with an excellent break off a mid-field counterattack by Emma Sing with support from Mo Hunt. Gloucester-Hartpury kept their cool and the forwards sucked in the defence through phases until once again Kelly Smith, through a miss pass from Mo Hunt, went over in the corner. Two further penalties converted by Emma Sing saw the Cherry and Whites go in at half-time 18-7.
In the 2nd half it was Harlequins that would strike first after 2 minutes. A loose ball off the lineout saw Gloucester-Hartpury back in possession and with bodies from both sides tussling to regather the ball, it was ripped by former player Sarah Bonar who ran it in and scored. The score was now 18-14.
Gloucester-Hartpury were camped on the Harlequins line for the next 10 minutes but a forward pass allowed them to clear their lines and relieve the pressure. It was now to be a war of attrition with both sides creating opportunities to score but defences holding strong.
It was in the 78th minute where it would be heart ache for the cherry and whites when after numerous pick and go carries from Harlequins saw Shaunagh Brown just touch the whitewash and saw referee Nikki O’Donnell raise her hand for the try.
Final Score Gloucester-Hartpury 18 – Harlequins 21