Source: Sale Sharks

Trailfinders post first big win PWR – Round Six

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Trailfinders v Sale Sharks

In the tightest of tight games Trailfinders came through, but only thanks to a failed Sale conversion at the close. Still, it meant a 5-pointer and a second win under their belts. More important, they have now beaten a side already established in the league; they can hold their heads high.

The debutants calmed the home crowd by starting on top. Kate Zackary exploited a strong scrum to pick and go all the way to the line. 5-0 The set-scrum was to prove a strength all through, and a heartening asset for trials to come.

There was a big worry for Sale as Morwenna Talling went down at a line-out. She was helped off the field, apparently suffering from an ankle turn. Everyone, not least the Red Roses, will wish her a speedy recovery.

But TF’s superiority at the scrum was already plain. A series of penalties near the Sale line forced the referee to run under the posts. 12-0.

It was quite a surprise when Georgie Perris-Redding found her way past a stream of would-be defenders to cross the line and bring the Sharks right back into the game. 12-7

Now Vicky Irwin saw yellow after a so-called deliberate knock-on. The result was a chance for Abby Dow to produce another breathtaking try. It started from well inside her own 22. My ruler is regrettable not long enough to measure her run, but the semi-official verdict was 85 metres. The game can seem horribly unfair when she produces a gem like that. 19-7

Both sides were guilty of failing to complete promising moves, the hookers in particular unable to find their jumpers. Even after Cristina Branco had been replaced by Elisa Riffonneau, two international No 2s were unable to profit from promising positions to help produce a score.

The hosts paid for these frailties when Sian Jones, on debut for Sharks, produced an outstanding cross-wind 50-22 to set up a series of drives completed by Detysha Harper.

Half-time: 17-12

Sharks went on the attack from the restart. Only a penalty near the home line prevented a likely score. But they persevered, winning more penalties to advance. The result was a fine try by Niamh Swailes, bundling over in the corner. Honours even. Nerves on edge.

Three times TF built promising moves, only for long kicks to run dead and concede hard-won territory.

The game swung to and fro for ages, promising moves halted by handling errors or defiant defence.

Then finally Julia Schell made the breakthrough, completing a fine move to run in under the posts. Ellie Green had an easy conversion that was to prove vital.

In the final minutes Sale hammered at the line. Now it was Rowena Burnfield’s turn to face a yellow card as her team yielded a sequence of penalties. Finally Sharks forced their way over in the corner.

That corner was to prove vital, because it meant the conversion was a bridge too far.

The game started and finished on the half-way line; it was that tight. At least Sharks had the reward of two bonus points, still a pleasant rarity.

Result: Trailfinders 24 Sale Sharks 22



1 Andrea Stock, 2 Cristina Blanco, 3 Sara Seye, 4 Tyson Beukeboom (captain), 5 Amelia
Buckland-Hurry, 6 Rowena Burnfield, 7 Megan Barwick, 8 Kate Zackary, 9 Ella Amory, 10 Ellie
Green, 11 Abby Dow, 12 Carys Cox, 13 Julia Schell, 14 Vicky Laflin, 15 Rosie Inman,
16 Elisa Riffonneau, 17 Amanda McQuade, 18 Liz Crake, 19 Lauren Brooks, 20 Charlie Willett, 21
Emma Swords, 22 Jess Cooksey, 23 Lou Dodd

Two late changes: Liz Crake and Lou Dodd in; Cassandra Tuffnail and Lauren Knowler out


1 Catie Benson, 2 Niamh Swailes, 3 Detysha Harper, 4 Sara Tounesi 5 Iona Antwis 6 Rachel
McClachlan 7 Georgie Perris-Redding (co-captain) 8 Morwenna Talling 9 Sian Jones* 10 Sarah
Law 11 Nikita Prothero 12 Beatrice Rigoni 13 Eti Haungatu 14 Lauren Delany (co-captain) 15 Vicky
A. Irwin
16 Molly Kelly 17 Anne Young 18 Amber Schonert* 19 Polly Bowman 20 Jo Brown 21 Jess Taylor
Roberts 22 Minori Yamamoto* 23 Laura Perrin
*club debut


Referee: Andy Wigley
ARs: Holly Wood and Darryl Chapman

with thanks to


I can think of better times to start a game than 18.30 on a cold December evening under barely adequate lights.

Which club takes the prize for the most adverts on its shirt?


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