DOVERCOURT OWLS 15
WYMONDHAM WASPS 19
HARWICH faced the daunting task of playing the newly-crowned and unbeaten league champions.
From the kick-off, it was clear this was going to be a close match, with both teams competing ferociously at breakdowns and no quarter given in tackles.
The weather conditions were making it difficult for Harwich to get their free-flowing running game going and they spent most of the first half defending in their own half.
However, Wymondham were struggling to break through the Owls’ solid defence and could not threaten their try-line. Superb clearance kicks by Harwich full-back Yas Amber helped ease the pressure on more than one occasion, while the front row of Di Woods, Emma Simons and Tasha Bray were giving the Wasps’ front row a torrid time in the scrums and Sophia Tricker was a constant disruption to Wymondham’s lineouts.
Without this setpiece advantage, the visitors struggled to get gains and, with both defences offering little, the half-time score of 0-0 reflected the closeness of the teams.
The second half saw the home side putting the visitors under more pressure.
They started to find gaps in their defence, although some excellent cover tackling limited the breaks until centre Kimberley Hutchins wriggled through a gap.
After breaking through a couple of tackles, she sprinted 40 metres to touch down for the game’s first score.
Unluckily, Amber’s conversion attempt hit the post and rebounded the wrong way.
The Wasps upped their game and from the restart had the Owls pinned in their own 22.
Despite some heroic defending, the Owls eventually ran out of defenders and the visitors crossed the line for a converted try.
It was now the home side’s turn to exert some pressure and they spent the next few minutes camped in the Wasps’ 22.
Scrum-half Lucie Gibson dived over for a try in corner after an outrageous dummy pass sent the covering defence the wrong way.
The see-saw nature of the game continued with the Wasps applying pressure again and it paid off when one of their forwards bulldozed her way over the try-line to score.
Harwich responded strongly but failed to convert any of their pressure into points and their indiscipline was helping the visitors escape their own half.
More pressure by the the Wasps in the Owls’ 22 saw the home side commit a handful of offences and the referee contentiously awarded a penalty try and yellow-carded Owls captain Tricker.
This galvanized the home side, who immediately went back on the attack.
A last-gasp tackle prevented centre Kristin Kvalvk from scoring but eventually the pressure paid off when Hutchins forced her way over to score.
Harwich kept up the pressure from the restart needing to keep possession of the ball.
They worked the ball into the visitors half but unfortunately spilled it and the Wasps kicked the ball into touch to finish the match as victors.