Harlequins Ladies And The Never Ending Seasons

It’s now been a week since Harlequins Ladies defeat to Saracens in the Tyrrells Premier Final at Franklins Gardens.

I’ve watched the match on you tube countless times this week, and the final score still won’t change, but I will keep on repeating the process until it does.

For players and staff thoughts have already turned to next season, one hopes the Barbarians team to face England women On June 2 will contain a few Quins, the Red Roses side most certainly will, before a bunch of them head off to San Diego to play in the Women’s World Series starting in late June, where England will face the world’s best.

So as we say goodbye to the 2018/19 season it is worth mentioning some facts about Quins Tyrrells premiership season that will either entertain you, or send you to sleep, so either way it’s a win-win for every reader.

For Harlequins Ladies pre season training is just a matter of weeks away, in reality the seasons are never ending these days, there is no doubt they have entertained and inspired rugby lovers of all ages, and they have done it with a smile on their faces, long May that continue.

MATCH RECORD 2018/19

Played 20 Won 15 Drawn 1 Lost 3

 

  • Quins recorded 10 straight wins between 29 September 2018 and 12 January 2019.
  • Quins first try of the season was a penalty try against Gloucester-Hartbury 10 mins into the opening game of the season.
  • Emily Scot played in 17 of the 18 league matches.
  • Quins are unbeaten at home since 3 December 2017.
  • Quins scored 14 points in the final four minutes (Ellie Green scoring 9) to draw with Bristol Bears after being 26-0 down at half time.
  • Rachael Burford scored a try in the first and last matches of the season.
  • Heather Cowell scored a hat trick in 11 minutes against Bristol  (21,29 & 32 minutes)
  • Quins were the only team to beat Saracens in 2018/19 (20-17 at the Stoop 20/10/18).

 

FULL LIST OF TRY SCORERS 2018/19 (120 TRIES SCORED)

  • Heather Cowell   20
  • Jade Konkel   11
  • Davinia Catlin   10
  • Shaunagh Brown   8
  • Leanne Riley   8
  • Emily Scott   8
  • Fiona Fletcher   7
  • Jess Breach   6
  • Chloe Edwards   4
  • Chloe Butler   4
  • Vickii Cornborough   4
  • Lucy Packer   4
  • Penalty Tries   3
  • Bethany Wilcock   3
  • Georgia Newman   3
  • Rachael Burford   3
  • Beth Dainton   2
  • Katy Mew   1
  • Ellie Green   1
  • Stacey White   1
  • Zoe Saynor   1
  • Deborah McCormack   1
  • Charlie Wellbelove   1
  • Tove Viksten   1
  • Sarah Cornforth   1
  • Kristine Sommer   1
  • Leah Lyons   1
  • Jade Mullen   1
  • Sam McCarthy   1

 

REPRESENTATIVE APPEARANCES 2018/19

  • Deborah McCormack   Scotland
  • Jade Konkel   Scotland
  • Leah Lyons   Ireland
  • Emily Scott   England
  • Jess Breach   England
  • Abbie Scott   England
  • Shaunagh Brown   England
  • Leanne Riley   England
  • Vickii Cornborough   England
  • Rachael Burford   England
  • Kristine Sommer   USA
  • Ellie Green   England U20
  • Chloe Edwards   England U20
  • Beth Dainton   Army
  • Alex Hardy   Army
  • Jade Mullen   Army
  • Bev Gilbert   Army
  • Victoria Peterssen   Sweden
  • Tove Viksten   Sweden

 

  • Rachael Burford achieved her 80th England cap in 2018/19
  • Deborah McCormack earned her 30th Scotland cap in 2018/19 against France in Lille
  • Abbie Scott captained England against Wales in Cardiff in the 2019 Six Nations
  • Jess Breach was top try scorer in the Six Nations with 9 tries for England

Captains Gather In Northampton Ahead Of Tyrrells Premier 15s Final

Saracens Women captain Lotte Clapp and captain of Harlequins Ladies Rachel Burford assembled at the home of Northampton Saints today ahead of the Tyrrells Premier 15s final on Saturday 27 April, KO 5.45pm.

The second Tyrrells Premier 15s final will see current title holders Saracens Women take on Harlequins Ladies at Franklin’s Gardens in what will be a rematch of last year’s final.

Looking ahead to the weekend Clapp commented: “I always have in my head that image of me lifting the trophy with all my team mates around, it was an amazing feeling and something you wish to have over and over again.

“At the same time you’ve got to not get overwhelmed by that and say it’s a new year and a new final where anything can happen.”


Rachael Burford added: “It would mean everything. We’ve put in a lot of hard work, there’s heartache from last year and a couple of times this season, so for us to be able to go and win would be brilliant.

“It is in our hands, we’ve got an opportunity and I’m really confident that our team will rise to that challenge.”

In the semi-finals Saracens defeated Wasps FC Ladies 31-13 at Allianz Park after topping the regular-season table with 17 wins from 18 games while Harlequins put in an impressive performance to beat Loughborough Lightning 26-10 at the Twickenham Stoop.


Tickets for the final cost £10 for adults and are free for under 16s. Visit http://www.englandrugby.com/tickets for more information.

Harlequins Ladies The Final Frontier


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.

Thunderous Quins See Off Lighting In Clash Of The Titans

In Greek mythology Zeus, the most powerful of the Olympian gods, was the master of the thunderbolt, Cyclops the men of the golden race gave him the weapon.

In yesterday’s Tyrells Premier semi final between Harlequins Ladies and Loughborough Lightning, at Twickenham Stoop, the away side produced some glorious flashes, but it was Quins that provided the thunder that ultimately won this contest.

Their line speed, and defensive brilliance constantly drove back Lightning, Khadidja Camara. the Quins centre had more hits than Take That, she tackled everything that came her way.

If there were to be a Greek goddess of back row forwards then Jade Konkel would fit the bill perfectly, scoring two tries, battering the gain line constantly, and she came off the field exhausted and battered  justifiably won the player of the match award.

At full time the teams looked absolutely shattered, both sets of players had given absolutely everything, Hypnos the greek god of sleep was not be required last night.

1,265 turned up on a cold afternoon at the Stoop, it appeared that another greek god, Boreas, the god of the north wind, had provided an icy accompaniment to proceedings, but it didn’t take long for things to warm up on the field of play.

Quins scored first through Jade Konkel in the 4th minute, two minutes later Carys Williams, who looked dangerous throughout scored a sparking try for Lightning to levels the scores at 5-5.

Jade Konkel got her second try on 38 minutes, and an Ellie Green conversion gave Quins a 12-5 lead at half time.

Twelve minutes into the second half Vickii Cornborough powered over for a try converted by Ellie Green, and on 69 minutes Leanne Riley’s quick thinking earned her a well deserved try once again the conversion was supplied by Ellie Green.

Megan Davey got a consolation try for Lightning on 78 minutes, but the game was won by that stage,

This was a clash of the titans, the physical contest was immense and the hits ferocious, both sides suffered injuries and at one stage the pitch resembled a battle field, we can only hope that Apollo, the greek god of healing will assist to ensure Quins are at full strength for the final in two weeks.

Quins now face Saracens in the final, at Franklins Gardens, on April 27, a repeat of last years final, it may well be worth getting in touch with Fortuna, the greek goddess of good fortune, it certainly can’t do any harm.

Super Mac Is Back

There are people you meet in this game that impress on so many levels, immense dedication is a pre-requisite at the top level, but to be a thoroughly decent human being and role model is not necessarily part of the job description, neither is the ability to face adversity with a smile and without a hint of self pity,

When you come across someone who has all these qualities by the bucket load, its makes you realise that this great game of ours is well and truly blessed.

Harlequins and Scotland lock, Deborah McCormack is one such individual, and to say that she has had a testing season would be a massive understatement.

Following last years final against Saracens, Debs headed south to spend the summer of 2018 playing for Eastern Suburbs in Sydney, Australia, a stones throw from Bondi beach, she returned to native soil in peak physical condition and champing at the bit to start the new Tyrrells Premiership season.


On the 8 September, in the opening match of the current campaign, she injured her shoulder, an injury that didn’t initially appear to be of a serious nature, sadly it proved difficult to diagnose and kept her out of action for club and country for the best part of five months.

The down to earth popular lock, as is her way, bore her injury with humour, and good grace despite constant set backs, stuck on twenty eight Scotland caps, she missed the entire Autumn international series, and finally returned to Quins action on January 26 in the away victory at Wasps.

An integral part of the Scotland set up Debs was called Six Nations into action to face Ireland with just one half of rugby under her belt, she played a lung busting forty one minutes at Scotstoun before being replaced having emptied the tank.

She finally got her 30th cap against France in Lille on a balmy February Saturday night in Lille, before adding to her tally against England at Twickenham in the final match of the championship.

In the game changer at the Stoop, two weeks ago Debs joined the fray in the 61st minute, as a replacement for Chloe Butler, and it only took her sixteen minutes to get her first try of the season.

But we should know from experience that come the business end of the season Supermac gets into her try scoring mode.

Last season she scored a try in both semi final legs against Wasps, and in the final against Saracens, we are all hoping history will repeat itself starting tomorrow , although Debs is under no illusions.

Tomorrow Harlequins Ladies face Loughborough Lightning in the Tyrrells Premiership Semi Final at the Stoop.

Lightning will be tough opponents they have quality in so many areas and a host of internationals at their disposal.

Debs is on the bench with her old sparring partner Zoe Sayner and I wouldn’t bet against another try from our Flower of Scotland come the latter stages of an epic encounter.

After The Grand Slam Hangover What’s Next For Wales

Like a holiday romance the time has come to pack our bags and head home to reality, the grand slam party is finally over, and we are leaving with a doggy bag crammed full of memories and images.

Our Grand Slam T-shirts have been pre-ordered, and Welsh fans the world over are desperately attempting to find affordable flights to the land of the rising scrum for the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

So as the paracetamol is finally put back in the medicine cupboard, it’s time to look at what happens next for Wales.

It’s hard to believe that Wales last lost a game of rugby on 24 February 2018, and after fourteen consecutive wins they will remain unbeaten until at least August 11th 2019.

Warren Gatland’s last match in charge of Wales is a moveable feast, (or famine), at the moment, depending on how far the men in red progress at the Rugby World in Japan.

Welsh players will get four weeks off, regardless of when their season ends, then in July the Wales squad head to Flesch in the Swiss Alps living at 2,250 metres above sea level, but training at 1000 metres, the reduction in oxygen that occurs make their bodies more efficient, it is also likely to be extremely hot during July.

Wales then return to the UK for two matches against England, before heading out to a warm weather training camp at Gloria Sports Arena in Turkey, this will be a week long trip scheduled around 19-25 August, the players families will fly out to join them for the latter part of the week,

Wales then return home to face Ireland in Cardiff on 31 August after which the final World Cup squad of thirty-one players is revealed, Wales then go to Dublin on 7 September for their final warm up game.

The Welsh squad depart for Japan on Wednesday 11 September to commence a five-day training camp at Kitakyushu, before heading to Tokyo for the opening World Cup pool match against Georgia on Monday 23 September in Aichi.

Further Pool games follow against Australia in Tokyo on September 29, Fiji in Oita on October 9, and finally Uruguay in Kumamoto on 13 October.

 

Trying Times As Harlequin Heather Blooms

Heather: Definition

1. A purple flowered Eurasian Heath that grows abundantly on moorland and heathland.

2. A try scoring machine that inhabits grassy areas capable of destroying any defence once in full flight.


Heather Cowell of Harlequins Ladies is having one heck of a season.

As the club prepare for a Tyrrells Premier semi final against Loughborough Lightning she finds herself the team’s top try scorer, with twenty touchdowns.

Her exploits include three hat tricks one of which was achieved in 11 minutes against Bristol on 1 December 2018, touchdowns in the 21st, 29th and 32nd minute gave her the fastest hat trick ever recorded in the Tyrrells Premiership.

Heather has already scored four tries against Loughborough Lightning this season, two in the away encounter, and two at Surrey sports park in the return match.
Another brace at the Stoop next Sunday, in the Tyrrells Premiership semi final would be most welcome.

Heather Cowell’s Twenty

1. Loughborough Lightning 78mins 22/9/18

2. Loughborough lightning  79m  22/9/18

3. Worcester Valkyries 50m. 13/10/18

4. Saracens 67m. 20/10/18

5. DMP Sharks. 24/11/18

6. Bristol 21m. 1/12/18

7. Bristol 29m. 1/12/18

8. Bristol 32m. 1/12/18

9. Loughborough lightning 6m. 8/12/18

10. Loughborough lightning 69m. 8/12/18

11. Waterloo. 12m. 15/12/18

12. Waterloo. 23m. 15/12/18

13. Waterloo. 17m. 15/12/18

14. Worcester Valkyries 9m 22/12/18

15. Worcester Valkyries 20m 22/12/18

16. Saracens. 31m. 12/1/19

17. DMP Sharks 4m. 23/3/19

18. DMP Sharks. 38m. 23/3/19

19. DMP Sharks 45m. 23/3/19

20. Gloucester-Hartbury 14m. 30/3/19