8 Aug 2022
Halifax 58-30 Hornets
This week Hornets Ladies travelled to Halifax Panthers to face a side we were well beaten by, earlier in the season.
Once again Hornets could only travel with a small, but committed, band of 13 but did so in high spirits.
Halifax are a uncompromising side who play a tough unforgiving brand of rugby and are well supported with 20 players to choose from. To all but the most optimistic, from the outset the day was going to be extremely tough.
Hornets started well, really getting stuck in to a much bigger side. Lauren Holgate, on her debut, surprised everyone by how composed she was in such a difficult environment. Whilst Emelie Byrom, in only her third game, once again improved and shown signs of the promise that the coaching staff had spotted in training.
It wasn’t long however before it became apparent just how tough a day it would be when our star fullback Libby Hadfield took a heavy knock to her head and had to leave the field. Shortly after, centre Beth Harris tweaked her Achilles which meant she could do not much more than hobble. Beth however stayed on the pitch for the 80 minutes, a true measure of her toughness and commitment to the team.
After struggling to handle the size of the Halifax pack in the first quarter, Hornets found their feet in the second - sparked by a Claire Sutcliffe try. Hornets went in at half time clearly in the ascendancy despite being behind on the score board - which read 24-18.
In the second half, the game swung the way of Halifax with Hornets players struggling with the physicality which at times was borderline and also compounded by the lack of subs.
Another player playing some of her first rugby league was Jaymie Hampson Phow. Jaymie seemed to almost revel in the tough environment, another player we can look to seeing more of in the red white and blue.
Every team needs its leaders and Sam Brazier is a player that leads the Hornets ladies every time she steps on the pitch. Both in attack and defence, a threat every time she has the ball. Sam registered another hat-trick, for the season, in an inspirational performance.
I can’t not mention the efforts of the ever impressive Steph Hillen, who probably suffered the worst from the rough treatment but she once again never stopped for a second, in the 80 minutes, whilst also darting over for another try.
A constant thorn in the side of Halifax was another star of the team, Morgan Pearson. Playing scrum half, the 17-year-old is developing at a rate of knots, both carrying the ball through the defensive line as well as steering the Hornets team around the pitch. She was understandably, not for the first time, chosen as player of the game after another sparkling performance topped off with another try to add to her tally for the season.
The game ended with a score of 58-30, a tough and sometimes brutal game for Hornets but one they will grow from.
We now look to this week’s trip, back over the Pennines, with a visit to Illingworth on Sunday.
Hornets Ladies currently train on a Thursday (19:30-20:30) at Mayfield Sports Centre, Chadwick Lane, Rochdale, OL11 3BY.
Any players, old or new, are welcome to come and try the great game!
Hornets: Libby Hadfield, Lauren Holgate, Claire Sutcliffe, Beth Harris, Emelie Byrom, Harriet Widdup, Morgan Pearson, Sharon Pearson, Steph Hillen, Tammy Murphy, Sam Brazier, Shauna Leigh Moore, Jaymie Hampson Phow.