Sirius Academy Year 8 Girls took on Featherstone Year 8 Girls in a friendly match at West Hull ARLFC, the game was played to the usual 11-a-side Carnegie Schools Championship Rules. The Featherstone team had no fewer than four players in their team who play week in week out for amateur clubs, but this not phase the Sirius girls, who came out 52 – 24 winners. Credit must go to Year 7 Shauna Jones was drafted into the Year 8 team and did not look out of place for the full 50 minutes.
The opening try of the game came from a scrum on the halfwayline, when Megan Atkinson fed stand-off Ebony Hepworth, who took on a couple of defenders before finding some space and outpace the defence. Some great play down the right hand side doubled the Sirius lead, when they got the ball wide to Olivia Young, who was never going to be caught, showing some real pace to go in at the corner. Featherstone attacked in numbers, but some outstanding defence from Leoni Cambell and Megan Whittles stopped them from making much ground in their two consecutive sets of six in the Sirius half. The fightback began from the away team though, and they managed to crash over for their first try of the game, after the Sirius team failed to get off their line quick enough. But Sirius replied immediately, with probably the best team try of the game, going through no fewer than 4 pairs of hands as the ball was switched from right to left, a fine offload out of the tackle from Megan Atkinson, put acting half back Megan Kay into the open space as she went over the whitewash. Featherstone dominated the next five minutes of the game and went in for a couple of tries in quick succession after Sirius failed to get numbers in the tackle on a number of occasions. But Sirius had the last say of the first half, when loose forward Megan Whittles led the way with a fine drive forward, and a quick play the ball on the back of it resulted in Esther Godwin powering through the defensive line and run 60meters for her first try of the game, making the halftime scoreline 24 – 12, as Megan Atkinson converted all four tries.
Sirius were told at the haltime break that they needed to tighten up in defence, ensuring that they all move up together to make things easier for themselves by getting numbers in the tackle, getting the ball carrier on their back. Attacking wise, it was just re-emphasised to support the player with the ball and keep running strong and fast at their defensive line.
The second half started well for Sirius, with Melissa Tulley not taking a backwards step in attack or defence, in her new position of prop, which built the platform for Megan Atkinson, who took the line on with a smart dummy and step to fool the would be defenders to go over the try line. Esther Godwin then got her second of the game, again using her power, strength and speed after some fine vision from dummy half Megan Kay. Featherstone scored a couple of good tries themselves as they chased the game, but in the last 20 minutes there was only one team in it, and that was Sirius Academy. Some tenacious marker play from Ebony Hepworth paid off when she forced the away team into making an error, she pounced onto the loose ball and ran almost the full length of the pitch. Chelsea Yardley and Jodie Shimmells in the second row were making some good yards for the Sirius team as well as putting in some good tackles. Leoni Cambell was as strong as ever with her carries and put us in good field position for Megan Atkinson to once again do some magic, and her quick feet once again stunned the tiring Featherstone team as she stepped her way over the tryline. Fullback, Year 7, Shauna Jones also grew in confidence and began to take on the line, causing the away team all sorts of problems. Megan Kay was pulling all the strings from dummy half, with her superb decision making and distribution. The defence of the girls was outstanding, and they all put their bodies on the line to make sure that they did not concede another try. Featherstone were trying to go round the girls, but wingers Casey Davis and Olivia Palmer stood strong. In the final seconds of the game, another fine try from Esther Godwin down the right hand side saw her go over for her hat-trick, making the final score 52 – 24 in the favour of the Sirius Academy team.
Please congratulate the girls on their successful first year of playing full contact rugby league, I am sure next year they will be picking up some silverware, they certainly have the potential.
Squad: Shauna Jones (Year 7), Melissa Tulley, Leoni Campbell, Casey Davis, Megan Kay (Tries: 1), Olivia Young (Tries: 1), Ebony Hepworth (Tries 2), Megan Atkinson (Tries 2, Goals 8/9), Esther Godwin (Tries: 3), Megan Whittles, Jodie Shimmells, Chelsea Yardley, Olivia Palmer
Special thanks to Miss Bore for her support with the team, and for driving the minibus.