Owls off to a flying start
By Simon Woodley
Harwich & Dovercourt Owls secured a hard fought win in new campaign.
Harwich Owls started the new league campaign against Romford Ravens on a bright but blustery day at Low Road.
From the opening kick off the Owls had Romford under constant pressure which was soon rewarded with the games first try.
Unable to get out of their 22m line the Ravens gave up a line out and the new look Owls pack led by captain Di Wood secured the ball and from a well organised rolling maul Lillie Barnett, playing her first game at scrum half, took the ball from the driving pack and sniped around the blindside to score in the corner, the attempted conversion missed for a 5-0 lead.
The Owls now were taking the game to Romford and soon doubled their lead when a scrum on halfway saw Kimberley Hutchins, another Owl playing a new position at fly half, break through the Romford defensive line and get good field position deep in the opposition half, quick ball to Lauren Fee and then on to Chelsea Shand to turn on the speed and break past the last covering defender to put The Owls up 10-0, again the conversion missed.
Romford were not helped by a couple of injuries and stoppages meant the half extended past 35 minutes, but before the half ended Harwich scored their third try, a quick tap penalty taken 10m out from the Romford line gave Harwich some good quick recycled ball and Kimberley Hutchins found a gap in the defence to touch down under the posts, alas the day was not one for kicking and the conversion missed but as the half ended the home side were good for their 15-0 lead.
Romford started the second half with a new positive vigour and had the Owls pinned deep inside their half, however centre Lauren Fee ripped the ball from a Romford runner and passed out to Naomi Walker who in turn popped the ball along to Harwich’s new found speedster winger Charlotte Lynskey, she outpaced the last defender to stride away and score her first league try for the club, a 20-0 lead after another missed conversion attempt.
As the game entered the final quarter the size and strength of the visitors finally began to take its toll on the home side, when a number of defensive penalties gave Romford a chance 5m out from the Owls line to maul the ball and from the back of the maul flanker Janine Hale broke away to score and close the gap to 20-5.
As the game was winding down Romford were gaining in confidence and as The Owls were visibly tiring errors started to become more regular, missed tackles and ill discipline resulted in multiple penalties and from another quick tap and go 5m out, scrum half Jennifer Mugglestone rumbled over The Owls try line to narrow the gap to 20-10.
Harwich kept possession and ran the clock out to record a first league win against a big, tough side, credit goes to the whole team for a solid performance, the forward pack were outstanding all day at scrum and line out, Abi Cutts returning to the pack after her sabbatical at scrum half last season turned over numerous opposition ball and with a new half back combo the backs looked fleet footed so going forward it promises to be an exciting new season.
Report by Tim Flatt