Dewsbury Rams 0 Salford Red Devils 54 Match Report
Just about the last thing anyone would want, on finding themselves part way between Cup semi-final and Final, with only a week to go, is to come up against the very team of which they had disposed, in the semis, two weeks earlier.
Not only that, but to have to face them on their own pitch, when the recent encounter had been on home turf, in what was an extremely bruising and highly competitive contest, might well have unsettled many a team. Then, on top of all that, there was the absence, through injury, of two important strike players, Lauren Ellison, and long-term absentee, Steph Gray.
Yet, while all of these issues might, to many of us seem a little disquieting, the players of the Red Devils ladies’ team were not only totally undaunted by the challenge, they had been positively relishing the chance to turn out and overcome that challenge for which everything seemed to be conspiring to compound. And how well they did overcome them, with a total of ten tries (7 in the first half and 3 in the second) and seven goals bringing a grand total of fifty-four points.
What was even grander was the fact that they prevented the opposition from scoring at all. One week earlier, they had determined, at half time, to keep their then opposition, Hull KR, nilled, but had slipped up in this aim, allowing them one solitary break, which brought the Robins a converted try.
On this occasion, however, there was to be no such slip, and the final whistle came with their line unbreached – a quite remarkable achievement for any team, especially in an away fixture in Yorkshire, and against a team which would still have been smarting over their ejection from the League Cup, a week earlier.
So how did the team, which had caused the Red Devils those difficulties in their 18-8 semi-final contest away from home, come to suffer such a hefty defeat, at home, a week later? The answer lies, not so much with Dewsbury, who were virtually unchanged from two weeks ago, but with the Red Devils.
The first half had barely got underway, and they had scored three tries without the Rams actually having had hold of the ball, their sole contribution to the game being their four kick-offs, alongside as much tackling as they could muster.
The Salford handling was absolutely splendid, with every pass not only finding its mark but being delivered at a speed well in excess of previous matches, and with each one sticking, so that they dominated possession, not just in this opening period but right through the first half.
Seven tries in forty minutes tells its own story, and each one also leads to yet another set of six from the restart. Little wonder, therefore, that, as the half progressed, the degree of energy which the home side had had to expend in just endeavouring to stem the flow of seamless attacking moves thrown at them, had been sapped to the limit.
Centre, and regular try scorer, Alex Simpson was first on the scoreboard and she was joined in the list of first half try scorers by Luci McKeown (2), Casey Naylor, and newly signed debutant, Sade Rihari (3) also operating in the centre. Demi Jones was successful with five of her seven conversions to clock up the half time score of 0-38.
The second half was a little more competitive with Dewsbury gaining ,more of the ball, and testing the Reds’ defence somewhat. That the Salford players were equal to this, however, is reflected in the final score, but with less possession of their own, they were limited to three tries, from player of the match, Brogan Evans, Louise Fellingham, and Demi Jones to which she also added one of the two conversions of the half.
So now all eyes have turned to the League Cup Final, this coming Sunday, when the Salford Red Devils will face Orrell St James, at Orrell, KO 3pm. We must all now wish them every success on the day, whilst marvelling at their considerable achievement, already, in winning through to the final stage in such a short spell of playing together as a team. GOOD LUCK LADIES!
Luci McKeown, Jena Monks, Sade Rihari, Alex Simpson, Brogan Evans , Louise Fellingham, Demi Jones, Abi Collins, Tamzin Corcoran, Megan Condliffe, Vicki Kini, Kayleigh Bradshaw, Sarina Tamou,
Yasmin Parton-Sotomayor, Casey Naylor, Darcey Price, Helena Walker, Laura Bent, Gabrielle Chaplin
Sean Monks, Omaga Photography, for headline photograph showing Casey Naylor’s success in grounding the ball.