Castleford Academy’s year seven and eight girls, who are more noted for their prowess in the Rugby League code, have been trying their hand at the Rugby Union game this term – and with some success.
The girls took part in the West Yorkshire Regional heats in February to qualify to take part in the Area 6 Yorkshire County Championships, held at the home of Wetherby RUFC.
As well as the county title, another prize at stake was the chance to play at the home of Rugby Union with the national finals weekend taking place at Twickenham.
Castleford got off to a great start in their first game, dominating defensively and running in 10 tries to beat Crossley Heath Grammar School 50-0.
In game two the Academy girls took on a Harrogate Grammar School and again their solid defence, both around the rucks and out in the backs, was the main reason for their 11-try romp as they won 55-0.
In their final group game they would play the only other unbeaten team, Kelvin Hall School, from Bradford, and again the girls were superb, scoring 14 tries and running out winners 70-5 after being behind in the early stages.
The girls would now face the winners of the other group, Settle Middle Academy School, from North Yorkshire, and the game started at a furious pace with Castleford taking the first points with a try.
Settle hit back to pound the try line with wave after wave of attacks, but the defence shown from Castleford was incredible and they held out before breaking out for captain Mia Stephenson to score their second try.
More pressure did bring a Settle try to make it 10-5, but in the second half Castleford started to throw the ball around a lot more and two further tries from centres Esme Reynolds and Holly Dodd sealed the win.
The girls played powerfully throughout the tournament and will now be rewarded with a trip to Twickenham in May,
The Academy coach commented that the Union game has been a great help with developing the team’s go forward structures in their League games and in helping the girls understand better the importance of good support roles.
The winning squad was Mia Stephenson, Mia Churm, Emily Hemmingway, Rhia Cartwright, Beth Johnson, Keara Bennett, Jade Cowell, Esme Reynolds, Holly Dodd,Lauren Harvey, Emily Jones, Maisie Lumb, Abbey-Leigh Lindley and Laura Carrington. The player of the tournament was awarded to all the squad.