Eastern Counties final-ly make it with Bury Foxes’ help
Eastern Counties Women have made history by reaching their first ever County Championship final, with the help of six Bury Foxes in the squad.
They comfortably beat Leicestershire 41-14 on Sunday in the Gill Burns Women's County Championships Division Two semi-final at Stowmarket RFC to progress to this Sunday's final at Richmond Athletic Ground (10am).
They will face Essex, who were last year narrowly defeated in the final by Eastern Counties' semi-final opponents Leicestershire.
Eastern Counties, on the other hand, have gone further than ever before.
Jasmin Clark, Georgie Palmer, Steph Hanratty, Danni Lee, Katie Roberts and Steph Durrant were involved in the semi-final win.
And Hanratty, who last month won gold with England at the inaugural World Deaf Sevens tournament as well as being the top try scorer, scored one of her team's seven tries on the day.
The result came as a bit of a surprise as it was the visitors who dominated much of the first quarter of the game.
But they failed to capitalise on the pressure in Eastern Counties' 22 and it was the home team that picked up the first score, from a turnover in their own half with Georgie Lingham going over, and successfully converted by Alice Middleton.
They then extended the score to 12-0 as captain Lizell Heather powered through several tackles from 20m out for the second try.
Eastern Counties next try came soon after with Middleton breaking from full-back before executing a sublime kick into space for speedster Lingham to gather without breaking step to race over and take the score to 19-0 with 10 minutes of the half still to come.
The next try came from second row Lucy Williams, easily converted by Middleton, before Lingham secured her hat-trick of tries to take the side in 31-0 ahead at the break.
Bury Fox Hanratty then put the nail in the coffin of the contest with her five pointer after the break to take the score to 36-0.
Leicestershire capitalised on a lapse in concentration with two converted tries but Eastern Counties re-grouped before bringing the shutters down in defence once more.
Heather added the final score, an unconverted try to wrap up an impressive semi-final victory.