23 Aug 2022
Hornets 10-40 Sheffield Eagles
21st August, Mayfield Sports Centre, Chadwick Lane, Rochdale.
This week, in Hornets Ladies' penultimate game of the season, they welcomed table-toppers Sheffield Eagles to Rochdale. Once more, with a combination of injuries and holidays, Hornets were without an incredible 18 players but still managed to field a 13 - two of which had never played a game of rugby. And, against a travelling squad of 20 brimming with confidence, it was looking to be a long day. During the warm-up, there was the ever present positivity - and energy - but also an evident returning belief amongst the Hornets squad that they were capable of a performance the Hornets fans would be proud of.
Only a month ago, Hornets were put to the sword by Sheffield and suffered a heavy defeat. Despite this the Hornets ladies started like a house on fire, really matching Sheffield in every aspect of the game. This surprised Hornets as much as it did Sheffield. The right edge of Summer Harris, Georgia Turner and Lauren Holgate was something of a revelation - a young trio with, so much promise, that in defence really gave it to Sheffield.
Unfortunately though, numerous handling errors were really detracting from the good work Hornets were doing, repeatedly giving field position to Sheffield. Although, Sam Brazier once again scored for Hornets in the first half with Hornets going into the break 12-4 down.
In the second half Hornets again really challenged Sheffield, forcing errors from the Yorkshire side with some ferocious defensive efforts, a special mention to both Stacey Howarth and Emilie Byrom who were particularly tough today. The two debutants Kerry Buckley and Caroline Akerele were, despite their lack of experience, also incredibly brave and applied themselves fantastically well in a tough environment.
Hornets' second half try-scorer was the all-action Chloe Mansell playing at nine, with a cheeky short range effort that was converted by Scrum Half Claire Sutcliffe. With no interchanges to use and being up against such a strong squad the score blew out in the end to 10-40, which arguably didn’t reflect the closeness of the contest.
Player of the Game, chosen by the Sheffield coaching staff, was our number seven Claire Sutcliffe whose kicking game added another dimension to Rochdale Hornets.
Hornets Ladies has become a perfect environment for players new to the game. The number of players we have been able to introduce to rugby league and develop has been a real season highlight. With a great blend of experience and youth, the building blocks are there to push on and really establish themselves as a force in the league next season.
Coach Rob Rigby commented: “The Ladies knew they were going up against an established team nestled at the top of the table, yet morale was as high as ever with everyone very positive.
"They started on the front foot, worked as a team throughout the game, and finished as they set out.
"Possibly the best team effort of the season against a well-drilled side. Well done to the 2 debutantes who slotted in seemlessly.”
1. Emelie Byrom
2. Millie Harris
3. Summer Harris
4. Kerry Buckley
5. Lauren Holgate
6. Sam Brazier
7. Claire Sutcliffe
8. Stacey Howarth
9. Chloe Mansell
10. Caroline Ackerele
11. Georgia Turner
12. Sam Plant
13. Steph Hillen