Bright sunshine brought out the best performances of the season so far for Castleford RUFC under 15s girls in their National Cup semi-final matches at Doncaster.
Two sterling efforts against capable sides saw Castleford beat Newark 19-0 and Worcester 26-0 to gain a well deserved place in the National Cup final.
The sun had baked the pitch and credit must go to all the players who mastered the weather and hard pitch to play some excellent rugby that was a credit to the girls game.
Uncompromising defence from all three sides made for tense encounters and victories that had to be worked for as there was no easy ride for any team.
Illness and injury meant that Cas were down to their bare 13 player squad for the round robin matches, but the players stuck to their tasks and showed growing maturity as the two games progressed. Each one had to pull out all the stops as time and again energy-sapping crunching tackles were performed and had to be endured as the game was taken to the opposition.
The surging runs of Tilly Churm, Emma Hardy, Abi Burton and Amelia Crosland were matched by a willingness to support and not to be left out of the action by all the other players, none more so than Courtney Pursglove, who had the best back-to-back games of any Cas player this season.
She was at every breakdown to maintain continuity and her covering tackles drew gasps of admiration from all spectators. Her alertness was rewarded in the Worcester game as she was first to a loose ball and darted ‘Ben Youngs-like’ through and past stranded defenders to score a try to add to her afternoon’s haul of five conversions.
There was a hat trick of tries in the Newark game for Abi Burton and two tries for Amelia Crosland and one for Emma Hardy in the Worcester game.
Cas will now take their place in the National Cup final, which will be played against the winners of the London and South East, South West and South Areas, West Kent Divas, Welwyn or Crediton at Lichfield on Sunday, April 19.