Loughborough Lightning created a ‘unique memory’ that head coach Nathan Smith challenged his side with achieving pre-match by defeating Harlequins at Twickenham Stoop for the first time.
In their penultimate Allianz Cup match before the Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby league campaign gets underway, Lightning secured a 38-29 victory courtesy of two-try contributions from both Megan Davey and Bo Westcombe-Evans.
Katie Trevarthen and Georgina Tasker also crossed the line with Lia Green adding four conversions to secure the side’s maiden win at the Twickenham venue.
“I challenged the girls at the start of the game,” said Smith. “I keep banging on about the fact that we’re a young team, I think we had 16 students playing against Quins. I said you’ve got an opportunity to make a unique memory going down to The Stoop and turning Quins over. That was the challenge set.
“Performance wise I don’t think we were where we’ve been at the past couple of weeks but energy and enthusiasm wise, 100 per cent. We were probably above where we’ve been workrate wise.”
The victory was also Smith’s first in charge of Lightning after taking charge this summer. Narrow Allianz Cup defeats to Gloucester-Hartpury and Saracens were full of positives but on Saturday, Lightning got the result their performances had been threatening.
“First and foremost, it was just a good game of rugby, both sides played a great brand of rugby. If we’re going to grow the competition, this is the sort of game that people will want to see.”Nathan Smith, Loughborough Lightning head coach
“It was one of those where it wasn’t our best performance out of the last three games but I think the workrate, the endeavour and the ability to find a way to win was good.
“I thought we managed the game better than we had previously. We limited Quins to not so many entries into the 22 as they would’ve liked, which is a positive thing to see. They were pretty hard to stop when they got themselves five, ten, 15 minutes out – that was a real positive.”
Lightning have one game remaining of their Allianz Cup campaign – against Ealing Trailfinders on 28 October in a match being hosted at Epinal Way – before the PWR season kicks off with a trip to face Saracens on 18 November.
“I am just really happy for them that they have got a memory from this competition that’s really positive,” added Smith. “It doesn’t matter how many times people say you’re playing well and you’re doing the right things, it’s evidence now.”