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Harlequins Women have slipped from top spot in the Premier 15s for the first time this season after a second successive defeat.

Quins, who included Bdr Bethan Dainton (Royal Artillery) and Capt Alexandra Eddie (QARANC) in the starting line-up and Sgt Jade Mullen (AGC (SPS)) on the bench, hosted Loughborough Lightning in the unfamiliar surroundings of Cobham RFC.

It was an entertaining game which saw the momentum swing towards Loughborough – who scored two early tries – then to Harlequins, who racked up 17 unanswered points either side of half-time to take a 17-12 lead going into the final 10 minutes.

But a penalty from England legend Emily Scarratt brought Loughborough to a two-point deficit, and a late try grabbed the points from a 17-20 win.

The win saw Harlequins slip behind Loughborough in the standings, and with fierce rivals Saracens winning on Sunday the Quins are now eight points from the top.

It could have been worse for Quins had Wasps – who had SSgt Sarah Mitchelson (RLC) among their named replacements – not had their trip to DMP Durham Sharks called off at late notice due to a frozen pitch.

Harlequins will have an opportunity to snap this mini-streak at home this weekend, when they host Wasps.

Words © Chris Wearmouth, Image © Scrumpix from Harlequins v DMP Durham Sharks in October 2020