15 Aug 2022
Illingworth 34-20 Hornets
Sunday 14th August 2022, 14:00hrs. Illingworth ARLFC, Keighley Road, Halifax.
For the second week running Hornets Ladies travelled over to Halifax, this time to face an Illingworth side who themselves would be looking to avenge a loss to Hornets earlier in the season.
Once again due to injuries, holidays and prior commitments, Hornets - with 16 players unavailable - travelled with only 13 players.
Despite the lack of numbers available on the last few match days, the environment and energy within the Hornets Ladies squad is going from strength to strength with new ladies starting all the time and a record number training this Thursday.
Hornets took this energy in to the game, and in 31-degree heat with no subs they really needed to.
Illingworth are a good mix of experienced women and younger players brought in through their youth system, who play a good brand of open but tough rugby.
Hornets started on the back foot conceding early before hitting our straps and really taking it to Illingworth. The back row, Stacey Howarth, Jaymie Hampson-Phow and Shauna Leigh Moore were all on their game and added a starch to a Hornets side which was missing for patches last week.
Inevitably in the heat, Hornets started to tire and the youthful quick Illingworth edges took advantage breaking through with some long range efforts. Hornets never gave up however; the side's fight was epitomised by the efforts of Chloe Mansell, the centre-come-hooker stood up to a strong Illingworth middle giving out as much as she got, another fabulous role model and source of confidence for the youngest Hornets ladies.
The pick of the young Hornets ladies was a 17-year-old who's played only a handful of games but has taken massive strides in her confidence and development - Emelie Byrom. Playing at fullback in only her fourth game of rugby, Emelie was incredible. Showing glimpses of talent and resilience that threaten to take her to the top of the game. And, to top off a fantastic day, she was chosen as player of the game.
Another stand out was once again Sam Brazier, leading with every action she takes on the pitch, another inspiration to the younger players. Sam topped the tackle count and scored another hat trick of tries, a genuinely special player that Hornets are so lucky to have.
It was also another fine performance from Steph Hillen, who added yet another try to her impressive tally.
The game ended with Hornets losing with a score of 34-20 - an outstanding performance in the circumstances against a very good, well-prepared, side.
Coach Ben Bird commented:
“That was amazing, I wouldn’t have been any happier or prouder if we’d have won. Losing a close-fought game so narrowly to a good side with no subs in 31 degrees isn't bad going.
"There were some outstanding personal performances right across the pitch. Despite the recent run of results we’re in a really good place in terms of morale and energy in the squad.
"Rochdale Hornets has become a really healthy place for women to come and enjoy the game. I’m excited for what’s to come from these ladies.”
Hornets: Emelie Byrom, Lauren Holgate, Chloe Mansell, Beth Harris, Millie Harris, Sam Brazier, Harriet Widdup, Sharron Pearson, Steph Hillen, Tammy Murphy, Stacey Howarth, Jaymie Hampson-Phow, Shauna Leigh Moore.