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Nerves were jangling today as the Howe Harlequins welcomed their old foes Annan Rugby to Duffus Park on a sunny Sunday.

A close rivalry has built over the years with Annan as the Quins formed at the same time as Annan and have always had a fierce battle both home and away. The visitors have rejoined National 1 this year after being relegated from the premiership, so the Quins expected this strong Annan team to test them in every way here at Duffus.

The Howe team looked strong on paper and within 5 minutes the new back line had worked their magic utilising their pace and direct running to see Niamh Feighan cross the white wash for the Quins first. Annan came back hard with a strong score but the first of many penalties given away by both sides allowed Phoebe Saunders to kick her first 3 points. A second Annan score took the visitors ahead until Saunders slotted her second penalty.

Another direct run from Rachael Mulholland gave Niamh Feighan an easy walk in after the centre broke through three tackles to run 2 thirds of the pitch to then pass onto Feighan. Not to be left behind, the Forwards decided to get in on the action with Adelle Ferrie breaking a couple of tackles to score behind the posts, Phoebe Saunders kicking the conversion.

Howe 23, Annan 10 HT

A few changes to the Howe pack and back line brought new power to the game. A Susie Clements kick to touch deep into Annan’s 22 gave the dominant Howe pack a chance to flex their Mauling muscles with a catch and drive that had Annan going backwards over their line and Stephanie Craig grounding the ball.

Annan however were not finished, pressure was applied and it was the visitors who scored last.

Howe 28, Annan 17.

A shout must go out to the Howe pack who dominated the set piece today. Beth Robinson for hitting her mark every time in the lineout and Becca Martland for her constant disruption, turnovers and tackles. The Howe back line were incredibly strong, Liana MitchellClaire Buist and Niamh Feighan all playing in new positions and performing well.

We also have to thanks all the Howe senior coaches and players who have integrated the Quins into their training sessions, it is paying off lads!

Annan are worthy opponents every time we play them and I am sure they are plotting revenge when we head down their way next month! We look forward to the challenge and Oban next weekend.

WOM Susie Clements
Forward Of The Match Becca Martland
Back Of The Match Niamh Feighan

Mon the Howe!