Sunday April 29 2018, with 81:16 on the clock Quins are on the attack, trailing 24-20, one score and the title would surely be theirs, one bounce of the ball, one refereeing decision could change everything, but a knock on just outside Saracens twenty-two brings the game to an abrupt and gut wrenching end.
That blustery icy cold day at Ealing will never be forgotten by Quins and their fans, or indeed by this correspondent.
The team and management vowed, almost immediately, that they would return for the 2019 final, and the disappointment of that day has been a huge motivating factor this season, and they have been true to their word.
So a year later and some eight five miles further north, from last year’s venue, the 2019 final is just days away one thing that hasn’t changed are the protagonists, Harlequins Ladies and Saracens women.
Last years try scorers Holly Jane Myers, Jess Breach and Deborah Mc Cormack are all in contention for a place in the Quins squad looking for revenge,but there will be host of new faces lining up at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday evening.
There is no doubt that Quins are a much better side than the one that came up just short in 2018.
The depth of the squad is now incredibly impressive, and this season they have learned how to win ugly displaying both the beauty and the beast.
With Jess Breach and Heather Cowell on the wings tries are never far away, Rachael Burford is the glue that holds everything together in defence and attack, and Leanne Riley is one of the best scrum halves in the game.
Up front Jade Konkel comes at you like a runaway train, and if she can’t get you then Shaunagh Brown most definitely will.
At lock Quins are blessed with world class international personnel from England Scotland and Australia in the form of Abbie Scott, Zoe Sayner, Debs McCormack and Chloe Butler, whilst the front row will either bludgeon or frighten you to death, Leah Lyons, Vickii Cornborough & Davinia Catlin have scant regard for the Geneva convention and don’t take any prisoners.
So when Saturday comes everyone’s hopes and dreams wll be condensed in to eighty minutes or so of rugby, but win or lose one thing that won’t change is the character of those involved with Harlequins Ladies, a group of people who have welcomed me for the last two seasons, they’ve eaten all my welsh cakes but have also helped me through some very difficult times, in the process they have become become my friends, and it’s worth remembering whilst trophies gather dust, memories last forever, but let’s get that trophy as well please.
So from that first training session at acmosquito infestested Surrey Sports Park in July we find ourselves awaiting curtain up on the final act, the twentieth match of the season, for all our sakes I hope the fat lady will be singing a Quins aria long before the clock hits 81:16
With love respect and thanks to Debs, Jade K, Vicky P, Gary, Karen, Ali, Merrick, Matt, Michele, Ash, Gilly, Dawn, Harry, Graham, Marc, Rachael, Beth, Leanne, Ellie G, Ellie M, Emily, Jess, Heather, Khadi, Charlie, Zoe, Shaunagh, Leah, Vickii, All The Chloe’s Abbie, Tove, Jade M, Alex, Tash, Jenny, Courtney and of course Gary and Karen, and everyone of the gang.