Belfast Harlequins and City of Derry served up a rip roaring semi final at Deramore Park on Sunday afternoon with the Derry side claiming their place in next weeks final, against Carrick, running out winners by 24 points to 7.

The final score was rough justice on a continually improving Quins side who always looked dangerous with the ball in hand.

Derry were buoyed by the return of Irish International Stacey Lea Kennedy at hooker and the visitors were first on the score sheet with captain Di Nixon touching down out wide after a series of rucks close to the Belfast side’s line. The conversion was missed leaving the score at 0 – 5.

The North West side continued to enjoy the lions share of possession with their big pack dominating up front but the home team looked dangerous on the counter with a break from  Zoe Templeton making 60 meters before being stopped by Rachel Lennox. Moments later the hard working Nikki Caughey intercepted a pass in the Quins 22 and looked to be racing clear only to be dragged down by an excellent cover tackle from Andrea Shepherd.

Both teams fought hard for dominance but the defences were on top with some bruising tackles going in. Nikki Caughey and Christine Robb stood out in the centre of the home team’s defence stifling several Derry moves before they had a chance to develop and the home team looked to be getting a finger hold on the game.

However it was Derry who were to go further ahead when just before the break the ball was kicked deep into the Quins 22 and in the resulting scramble Derry’s Julie Simpson touched down for a try. Rachel Lennox added the extras with a nice kick and the teams turned round with Derry having a twelve point lead.

Quins hit back straight after the kick off with a wonderful individual try from Zenay Jordaan after some good work from replacement Hilary Faith and with Caughey chipping over from out wide it was game on with the score reading 7 – 12.

Derry changed their tactics and relied on powerful wing forward Mandisa Williams acting at out half and cutting back into the forwards. The change worked well, keeping the ball away from the dangerous Quins backs  and the pressure eventually told with Williams crossing twice to seal the game for the visitors. Rachael Lennox converted one of the tries taking the final score to Belfast Harlequins 7 City of Derry 24.

Belfast Harlequins: Sorcha Chipperfield, Jen Goodall, Alanagh Chipperfield, Kara Swales, Frankie Durieux, Kathryn Hanna, Jolene Cloughley, Eileen McElroy, Jenna Stewart, Zenay Jordaan,  Zoe Templeton, Christine Robb, Nikki Caughey, Lesleyann Stirling, Ashleigh Baxter,  Hilary Faith, Lauren Moore, Jenny Waide, Michelle Burns, Christine Alexander

City of Derry: Gemma Lynch, Stacey Lea Kennedy, Kylie Boyle, Julie Simpson, Katie Corenti, Glenda Mellon, Mandisa Williams, Diane Nixon, Fundi Plaatjie, Susie Tinney, Andrea Shepherd, Kelly Holmes, Bridin McDermott, Natasha Milligan, Rachel Lennox, Naomi Seaman, Leia Pflugradt, Ciara McGurk, Kelly Gormley.


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