Brighouse Ladies travelled to the home of Oulton Raidettes on a warm sunny afternoon.Â The Sunday afternoon game kicked off under the cover of cloud,Â much to the player’s relief after their warm up preparations had been in the blazing sunshine.
Both teams seemed a little nervous as the game got under way, with unforced errors going against both teams, but from the offset Brighouse defence stood firm with Oulton not being able to make many yards and then soon found themselves trapped in goal.
With ball in handÂ Vicky BrookÂ made a powering run to return the forced drop out,Â Kayleigh HayesÂ gaining even more ground, brought down just before the try line, it wasÂ Beth GreenwoodÂ who was held up over the line but moments laterÂ Emily BrookeÂ scored in the left corner, the conversion unsuccessful.
Brighouse’s solid defence remained strong, and bone crunching one on one tackles kept Oulton deep in their own half. With Brighouse’s confidence growing, they began to throw around the ball, but their discipline lapsed giving Oulton a penalty which set them on their way. Oulton’s right winger made a good break down the sideline and was only tackled a few metres before the line, a kick through on the next tackle forced an error on Brighouse’s try line. But with their defensive line set, Brighouse’s defence remained firm and forced a knock on, and they quickly reset their attack from a scrum on the 10.
With 10 mins remaining of the first half, Oulton made another break down the right hand side but with a fantastic one on one tackle from Greenwood, she forced a knock on over the line.
Powerful runs fromÂ Amy Gilbert,Â Tyler CooklandÂ andÂ Danielle BedfordÂ quickly got Brighouse up the pitch and loose forward, Emma Proctor, quickly took charge and fired the ball out wide, to find Cookland who scored in the right hand corner.Â The kick unsuccessful giving a half time score of 0-8.
As the second half got under way it was clear that Oulton were not giving up on the game and they scored 2 tries and 1 conversion in a matter of just 3 minutes, taking the lead by 2 points. With Brighouse looking a little stunned from such a quick start from the Oulton blocks it was again the forwards that took charge, and strong runs from Gilbert, Greenwood and Hayes broughtÂ the team right back on Oulton’s try line and, with a classic hit and spin run, Rose NashÂ scored close to the sticks, again the conversion was missed the scoreline 10-12.
Shortly after the restart, quick reactions fromÂ Jasmine Cudjoe saw her pounce on Oulton’s dropped ball and make a break up the middle of the pitch, 3 big drives from the forwards foundÂ Kelly DarraghÂ from dummy half, firing a quick ball out to Nash who kicked the ball up and over into the right hand corner, and the ever eager scrum half, Anna Simpson, jumped higherÂ than all the defenders to pluck the ball out of the air and put it down in the corner. Brighouse’s 3rd kicker of the day was also unsuccessful.
Brighouse Ladies seemed to settle into their stride very well and continually forcing the errors from Oulton it was them who had the majority of the ball, with the ball handlers, Darragh, Cudjoe and Simpson all linking well together the ball was being zipped one way then another before Simspon drew the final defender and put Brooke through the gap to score her 2nd of the day, with 10 minutes remaining.
Despite Oulton trying to pass the ball about a little more, they still struggled to get out of their own half, the Brighouse defence remained as strong as when the game began. Then, a strong break down the right hand side from Brighouse’sÂ Louise Townsend, and withÂ great communication from the half backs, the ball was shipped from right to left to find the powerful Gilbert, steaming along the side line and with the strength of an ox, she handed off the wannabe defender to power past and over the line to score a try that any Super League team would be proud of.
With the 6 unsuccessful Brighouse conversions the scoreline could haveÂ been much wider but the Brighouse Ladies were very happy and proud of theÂ final score ofÂ 10-24.
Player of the Match went to youngÂ Jasmine CudjoeÂ playing well in her 1st Open Age Summer League.
Report byÂ Shelly Thomas
Photo above is of Brighouse Ladies 1st and 2nd teams on a day when the Club made history by fielding two teams at the same time.