Year 8 Girls - National Rugby League Champions
I am very proud to inform you all that the very talented Sirius Academy Year 8 Girls Rugby team were crowned the best school team in the country at their age group, after defeating St Peters from Manchester 48 - 24 in Richmond on Friday 22nd August. Just one year previous, the very strong, big and physical St Peters side convincingly beat the same Sirius side and the girls were determined to not let that happen again. Credit to the whole squad, who had been turning up to regular training sessions in the holidays to ensure their chances of winning this time round was increased.
The game started well for Sirius Academy, with Kayleigh Waller making good yards from the kick off, Saffron Jones was next to run the ball in strong and hard, before the powerful Victoria Godwin ran onto the ball at speed and broke through the line, opening the scoring. The Sirius defence was put to the test in the next set of six, and they stood up to the mark. The ball was turned over on the Sirius line, and they controlled it well, making good yards, then a superb scoot from captain Mia Duke saw her just tackled short of the line, but a quick play the ball resulted in Molly Bigby finding space out wide to extend the lead. Shortly after this, influential Kayleigh Waller had to leave the field with a twisted ankle, being replaced by Danielle Fulton. St Peters got a try back of their own, but Sirius were looking dangerous in the attack and again found themselves near the St Peters tryline after Amelia Longden and Victoria Godwin again made good drives forward. Quick thinking from acting half back Mia Duke from the play the ball saw a reverse ball to Ellie Cone on the wing, who scored an easy try out wide. But again St Peters came back and scored from their next set. Mia Duke got a well deserved try late into the first half, but again St Peters replied immediately, leaving the scoreline 24 - 18, setting up for a tense second half.
Kayleigh Waller returned for the second half after running off her earlier injury that kept her on the sidelines for the majority of the first half. The second half started well for Sirius, when Mia Dukes superb kick from the restart was knocked on by St Peters, and Molly Bigby took full advantage, finding space out wide and going over for her second of the game. The defence of the Sirius team really stepped up, and there was no way through for St Peters, Victoria Godwin, Saffron Jones and Georgia Wardell were working hard in the middle and putting in some big hits, forcing St Peters into dropping the ball, which again Sirius capitilised on, with Kayleigh Waller bursting through to score. St Peters did have a lifeline by getting another try, but Sirius just proved too strong and skilful this year, and coupled with their determination and desire, there was no way they was going to give up this lead. Subs were made, bringing on Rio Campbell, Jess Delph and Laura Roper in place of the hard working Emily Andrew, Ellie Cone and Georgia Wardell. Sirius were not finished yet and ran in two more tries, just to rub salt in the wounds. Molly Bigby got over for her well deserved hat-trick and Mia Duke capped off a superb performance with her second try of the game. The final whistle went and the team celebrated in style with songs of "We and Sirius" and "Championies" echoing around the stadium. Mia Duke picked up the player of the match award from the RFL, with Molly Bigby picking up the players player of the match award.
Every single player played their heart out and got their well deserved revenge from last year. The girls have now done the amazing double of not only being crowned the best Rugby Union team in the country from their achievements in May at Twickenham, they are now the best in the country at Rugby League - a very rare achievement, and the girls all deserve a great deal of praise for not only their effort and commitment but the way they conducted themselves through the full weekend. They are a real credit to Sirius Academy.
Special thanks to Sarah Murphy-Corish and Janice Hall who supported with the girls throughout the weekend.
Please congratulate the squad on their amazing success in 2014: Kayleigh Waller, Rio Campbell, Ameila Longden, Emily Andrew, Jamie Watson, Ellie Cone, Dannielle Fulton, Saffron Jones, Mia Duke, Vicky Godwin, Georgia Wardell, Jess Delph, Molly Bigby, Laura Roper