After initial problems over player availability North Down thirds were ready to go straight from the first whistle. This was the first meeting between the thirds and the Harlequins fifths squad this season and the outcome of the game was uncertain.
North Down got off to a strong start, with excellent passing between the midfielders and the forwards and they took the lead with a ball crossed into the circle from right wing Naomi Mitchell into the centre of the circle where Emma Gowdy found the net. Although this boosted the team’s confidence the majority of the first half was spent in North Down territory but the Harlequins forwards were unable to breech a solid home defence with great defending by Keri Portinga, Rebecca Nield and Jocelyn Sturgeon. North Down finished the half with a number of chances but were unable to add to the score.
The visitors came out determinedly in the second half but goalkeeper Ashleigh Gorman read the play of the ball extremely well and made several good saves. North Down replied with a spell of pressure which resulted in three penalty corners but these were unsuccessful. However they managed to score again and make the game safe at 2-0. A ball played directly into the circle by Kathryn Rogers found Natalie Strain who placed it into the back of the net. Harlequins fought straight back with several penalty corners and finally managed to get on the scoreboard. The thirds held out for the remainder of the game and came away with their first three points of 2014. Massive thanks to all the girls for braving the rain and to Andy Walls for umpiring!
Player of the Match – Emma Gowdy