North Down travelled to Belfast last Saturday for the return league fixture with Harlequins. Having lost 5-0 at Comber earlier in the season North Down were hoping to give a better account of themselves on this occasion. Harlequins piled on early pressure but North Down were able to keep the home side at bay for the opening 10 minutes. However after Harlequins broke the deadlock two more goals followed in quick succession and North Down found themselves with a mountain to climb at 3-0 down. North Down did improve after this and won as many short corners and created as many opportunities as the home team but could not make the most of these in comparison to their clinical opponents. Half time 3-0
The second half was a more even affair with both sides creating opportunities and winning corners but no goals. Rachel Mornin was moved into midfield to push Lauren Brown into the centre and progress goal machine Katharine Hill back up to her usual centre forward role. North Down were now keeping the ball better and with Hill leading a high line the North Down midfield were able to get the ball in behind Quins on a few occasions. Hill ploughed a few lonely furrows into the Harlequins half but she was subject to some heavy handed tackling around the circle and was always met with a double team of Quins players. With the game fizzling out, North Down lost concentration in the final few moments and as had been in the case in the first half Harlequins punished it extending their lead to 4-0. This was disappointing after a much improved second half performance from the Comber girls. The girls now head into the Christmas break but will need to remain focused as they face title chasers Lurgan and Queens in their first two games of 2016.
Report by Laura Clarke