Salford Red Devils 58 Hull KR 6 Match Report
Salford Red Devils’ ladies’ team, celebrated their first league game at the A J Bell, in Sunday’s Double Header by completing the double over Hull KR, whilst simultaneously making it a treble in all matches against Hull sides this season, doing so in style by running in a total of eleven tries and kicking seven goals.
Those supporters, who arrived at the stadium in time to witness any of it, will now know just why the team has become possibly the most feared and highly respected in the league, not so much by the sheer size of the scoreline, but by the extremely high quality of the rugby they produce, especially for a team which has been together only a matter of months.
The visiting Robins must have been approaching the encounter with at least a little trepidation after their 46-4 undoing, at the Sewell Group Craven Park Stadium, earlier in the season, and their greatest fears must have been realised, when their hosts opened up the scoring with no more than sixty seconds on the clock, with a try from centre Steph Gray, in the corner, after the ball had been moved slickly along the line to the right. Demi Jones’s superb touchline conversion was the first of six out of six successful first half kicks.
The Humbersiders did regroup in the face of this setback and for the following fifteen minutes successfully stemmed the tide of attacks, while producing some challenging assaults of their own. It eventually came down to fullback, Luci McKeown, choosing her moment to insert herself into the line, as the ball was moved once more along the line, to shoot through a gap she had espied and race round to score under the posts.
A storming break from substitute, Yasmin Parton-Sotomayor, on almost her first touch of the ball, laid the foundation for Louise Fellingham’s try, when the halfback cut in at an angle as the ball was moved once again to the right, and by the time second rower, Kayleigh Bradshaw had forced her way over, on the lefthand side, the Red Devils were keeping up with the clock, having scored 24 points in the same number of minutes.
Abi Collins then fended off several attempts to tackle her on her way to the line, ensuring that the thirty-minute mark was reached with thirty points on the board. The first half concluded with a great pass putting McKeown through for her second score, with Bradshaw taking over the goalkicking equally successfully, to notch up a 36-0 half time score.
By the time the second half was sixteen minutes old, fans must have been thinking that the game had turned into the Tamzin Corcoran show, as the Reds’ dummy-half ran riot setting up no less than three tries. Her diagonal runs from play-the-balls near the line followed by passes to Gray, almost always put the speedster over for tries. On 43 mins, however, she did much the same but without the pass, instead clinging hold and racing over herself.
Three minutes later, she repeated the operation, but this time with the usual pass to Gray for her second score, and then on 56 mins, she sent out a wide pass to Player of the Match, left centre, Alex Simpson, whose own clever changes of direction have been duly reported previously, and she successfully produced one such again, to take the score to 48-6. As with all but the final try of the afternoon, successful conversions throughout the second forty seemed remarkably difficult to come by, and the team had to be satisfied with four points each for the others.
At half time, they had set themselves a target of keeping the opposition to nil, but their hopes of this were completely dented, on 50 mins, when a somewhat lethargic response to an individual break, from within the Robins’ half, brought the visitors a try between the posts.
When, consequently, ten minutes later, they gained a further considerable amount of possession, pinning Salford on their own line for two full sets, the Reds were determined not to succumb for a second time, and ensured that they kept their line intact with a whole-hearted defensive effort.
The final fifteen minutes saw two further tries from Bradshaw and Simpson, both of them completing their brace, while Jones rounded off the scoring with one final successful conversion.
Sadly, the game ended on a considerably sourer note, with highly talented Steph Gray sustaining a quite serious injury to her arm, which is going to keep her out of the team, probably for the rest of the season. Steph has become an integral part of the team, over the season, and has produced some game-winning scores, notably in the home league victory over Dewsbury Rams. She is going to be greatly missed by her teammates in coming matches, and everyone connected with the team wishes her a successful, and speedy, recovery.
Luci McKeown, Lauren Ellison, Steph Gray, Alex Simpson, Katie Garry, Louise Fellingham, Demi Jones, Darcey Price, Tamzin Corcoran, Megan Condliffe, Vicki Kini, Kayleigh Bradshaw, Sarina Tamou,
Brogan Evans, Yasmin Parton-Sotomayor, Casey Naylor, Abi Collins, Helena Walker, Jenna Monks, Hanna Wicks
Sean Lunt, Omaga Photography, for headline photograph showing Kayleigh Bradshaw scoring, with Taz Corcoran (left) and Player of the Match, Alex Simpson looking on
Media Consultant – Gabby Chaplin