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Match Report: Loughborough Lightning 38 – 19 Harlequins Women

Bo Westcombe-Evans’ four-try blast wrestled the spotlight from centurion Katie Trevarthen as Loughborough Lightning secured maximum points against Harlequins Women.

Loosehead prop Trevarthen became the Club’s first 100 appearance maker in the cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens encounter, but her side trailed at the break as Westcombe-Evans’ first and an Emma Wassell score were cancelled out by Jessie Spurrier and Carys Phillips crossing for Quins. Ella Cromack’s two conversions to Emily Scarratt’s one gave the visitors the midway advantage.

But the Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby points were secured for Nathan Smith’s side through Westcombe-Evans’ second-half treble – which was broken up by Ella Cromack’s converted try for the visitors – a feat that was matched by Emily Scarratt for the game’s final points.

FIRST HALF

Minutes after Trevarthen led out the African Violets onto the field to great applause, supporters were celebrating a moment of individual brilliance as Westcombe-Evans slalomed a kick return down the left wing before reaching out to score.

From turnover ball that started with a Trevarthen fly-hack, Lightning roared forward and got their reward as Wassell finished from a few metres out with Scarratt adding the extras.

But it was Harlequins – who started the match level on points with Lightning but behind them in the table due to winning one game less – who went in at the interval ahead as Spurrier and Phillips went over either side of a Rachel Malcolm yellow card with Cromack landing both conversions.

SECOND HALF

Having spent large spells of the first period defending in their own 22, the second saw Lightning’s attacking game come to the fore as Helen Nelson produced an inch-perfect crossfield kick to Westcombe-Evans out on the left wing. The 21-year-old remarkably rounded the opposition winger to land her second of the afternoon, with Scarratt’s tricky conversion striking a post.

Lightning’s four-try star proved her value on both sides of the ball as she hunted down Lagi Tuima following an intercepted pass to break up a certain score.

However, Harlequins did wrestle back the lead when Cromack glided through a gap after a neat pass from Emily Scott.

The final 13 minutes was one-way traffic as Westcombe-Evans controlled Nelson’s probing grubber to dot down for a third and, following a crucial momentum-swinging Cath O’Donnell turnover, a fourth followed as she scooped up Scarratt’s looping pass to finish clinically from 40 metres out.

The afternoon was wrapped up with three minutes to play when 111-times capped Red Roses star Scarratt broke through and landed her first Lightning try in over two years and added the routine conversion to take her contribution to 13 points – moving her clear of teammate Helena Rowland as the Club’s all-time leading point scorer with 247.

LINE UPS

Lightning: Green, Tasker, Scarratt, Morrall, Westcombe-Evans (Greensmith 78), Weaver (Davey 52), Trevarthen (A Williams 77), Meuller (Calladine 78), Keates (Curphey 63), Wassell, O’Donnell (Duguid 78), Malcolm (Waudby 77), Kabeya (S Williams 78), Hibbert-Jones.

Harlequins: Cromack, Mullen, Mayhew (Burford 60), Tuima, Neuman (Layzell 71), Scott, Packer (F Robinson 67), Spurrier (Turani 31-40), (Cooper 75), Phillips (Tuani 56), Latsha (Duffy 70), Lochner, Fleming, Brown, Robinson (Cooney 71), Konkel (Hele 33).

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