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Report: Harlequins Ladies 26-26 Bristol Bears Women

A late Harlequins fight back saw the hosts the snatch a draw at the death in a scintillating game of rugby at the Twickenham Stoop. 

Bristol Bears Women took a nineteen point lead into the half-time break thanks to four first half tries from Caity Mattinson, Mackenzie Carson, Merryn Doidge and Elinor Snowsill. 

Hosts Harlequins put in a dominant second half display, scoring twice in the final ten minutes of play to rescue a draw at the Stoop. 


What happened?

Kim Oliver’s side came out of the blocks the faster of the two sides as Caity Mattinson burrowed her way over the try line from the base of a ruck inside the opening five minutes to give the Bears the lead. 

Quins hit back almost immediately through Chloe Butler after the home side played to their strengths and kept the ball tight.

Caity Mattinson crossed for the Bears' first try of the day (via JMPUK).

Bristol then stepped on the gas and raised the tempo of the game and Merryn Doidge was the beneficiary of some slick handling from the Bears deep in the Harlequins half as the seventeen-year-old crossed in the corner.

The Bears were over again soon after, this time through Mackenzie Carson. Oliver’s side retained the ball well and drew in the Harlequins defence to leave space on the right and Carson dotted down for her first Tyrrell’s Premeir 15s try. 

As the end of the half drew near, Elinor Snowsill produced a piece of magic, the Welsh out-half put a neat grubber kick in behind the Harlequins defence and regathered the ball before rounding the last defender to score, capping an impressive first half display. 

Elinor Snowsill produced a sublime piece of skill to score just before the half (via JMPUK).

The start of the second half saw Harlequins come out fighting and on fifty minutes Davinia Catlin drove her way over the line to get her side back in the game. 

As the second half progressed, Bristol’s penalty count rose which lead to Poppy Leitch being sin-binned on the seventy minute mark. Heading into the final ten minutes against fourteen players the hosts had their tails up and replacement Ellie Green crashed over to set up a tense finale. 

With the clock in the red Harlequins had one final roll of the dice and they snatched a draw in the final play of the game with Lucy Parker sliding over and Ellie Green adding the extras. 


Player of the match:

Amber Reed was superb throughout the eighty minutes today at the Twickenham Stoop. 

She lead her side brilliantly from midfield, putting in thunderous tackles in defence as well as combining brilliantly with Elinor Snowsill in attack. 


Key moment:

With the Bears ahead by seven and the clock in the red up stepped, Lucy Parker who slid over the whitewash to give Green a chance to level the game from the tee, a chance which she took and with it Harlequins completed their comeback. 


Bristol Bears Women team in full: 

15. Merryn Doidge, 14. Lilly Stoeger-Goddard, 13. Lucy Attwood, 12. Amber Reed (C), 11. Phoebe Murray, 10. Elinor Snowsill, 9. Caity Mattinson; 1. Jess Thomas, 2. Clara Nielson, 3. Sarah Bern, 4. Amelia Buckland-Hurry, 5. Hollie Cunningham, 6. Mackenzie Carson, 7. Poppy Leitch, 8. Esme Bird. 

Impact Players: 16. Simi Pam, 17. Ellie Mulhearn, 18. Ebony Jefferies, 19. Florence Long, 20, Rai Parker, 21. Lucie Skuse, 22. Cat McNaney.


Photo of the match:

Mackenzie Carson crossed for her first TP15s try (via JMPUK).