On a dark damp chilly afternoon at Surrey Sports Park, Harlequins Ladies thunderous forward effort saw off Loughborough Lightning to earn themselves a 17-10 win.
Quins watertight defence kept out Lightning during the opening exchanges, as Loughborough controlled the breakdown, but Quins dominant scrum turned the tide in their favour.
Jess Wooden kicked a scrum penalty to touch on the 5m line, and the resulting driving maul gave hooker Davinia Carlin her first try of the match.
The multi talented home team backline bombarded Loughborough, but their defence held out until captain Sarah Hunter received a yellow card for killing the ball on her own line.
A Quins attacking 5m scrum resulted in Fi Fletcher touching down under the posts, and Wooden added the conversion to give the home side a 12-0 lead at the break
Quins made a storming start to the second half, with Catlin getting her second try to give Quins a 17-0 lead.
In the gathering darkness as the light faded ,the Lightning struck.
A yellow card for Loughborough’s Rebecca Noon, reducing them to fourteen players, sparked a two try revival as Lizzy Adam and Sarah Bonar touched down to narrow the score to 17-10.
Quins old heads stepped up to the plate, Rachael Burford, now at scrum half, controlled matters in the back line, whilst lock Deborah McCormack made a couple of powerful galloping runs, breaking the gain line on a number of occasions, and putting lightning on the back foot, at a time when they were looking menacing.
The Lightning storm had passed, and the game ended with Quins throwing the kitchen sink at Loughborough in the opposition twenty two, in an attempt to get a fourth try and a bonus point.
A team who love to play exciting attacking rugby showed that they can also get down and dirty to grind out a win, and that can only be good for their title challenge in 2018.