SALFORD’S WOMEN MAKE IT FOUR WINS IN A ROW

Hull KR 4  Salford 42                        Match Report

It does not seem to matter to whom you speak, pretty well any Super League player will attest to the difficulty of going to Hull KR and coming away with a win.  The two and a half hour journey, in itself, can be something of an endurance to be faced ahead of the game, and is certainly long enough for players to have stiffened up and be feeling slightly under par for the game.

That, however, certainly does not seem to have been the case, last Saturday, when Salford’s women’s team visited East Hull.  The team as a whole has been turning heads for the past few weeks, having been undefeated in all of their league games, winners in two out of their three nine-aside matches, and last week progressing to the semi-final of the League Cup.

One or two rather more sceptical of observers, given the reputation of the Sewell Group Craven Park Stadium, as being of a quite intimidating nature, with spectators close enough to the pitch to make their feelings felt to players and match officials alike, might well have been forgiven for expecting the team to struggle far more than in any other match so far.

So for them to take all of that in their stride, and then come out with a thirty-eight point winning margin, is quite incredible, and worthy of every word of praise that can be lavished upon them.  They were somewhat concerned that they made a slow start, with their being kept scoreless for fifteen minutes, but, once loose forward, Meg Condliffe, had fired them up with a tremendous hit on one of their opponents, there was no holding them, with points galore flowing freely, from that point onwards.

Two players, Steph Gray and Luci McKeown, scored hat-tricks, which, while justifiably being of great personal satisfaction to each of them, contributed greatly to the sides overall total.   Skipper, Louise Fellingham, also weighed in with a try, as did new recruit, Serina Tamou, who celebrated her arrival at the club by contributing to their biggest score of the season, so far.

There were five successful conversions, two of which came while Demi Jones was on field to take them, and McKeown proving to be an able deputy slotting over the remaining three.

A fifteen minute period towards the end of the first half virtually brought the game, as a contest, to its conclusion, with three stand out scores to relish.  The first of these came after a Salford interception enabled them to progress upfield, and Tamou showed the strength and power she would bring to the side with a ten metre charge at the home team’s line which no-one was going to stop.

Next name on the scorer’s list was McKeown, who fielded an end-of-set kick on her own twenty metre line, and then promptly went no less than eighty metres down the left flank for her first of the afternoon.  Almost unbelievably, that run heralded not just her own try but an immediate, subsequent one.

Direct from the restart, the ball was received by Fellingham, who set up Gray with a clear run to the line, along the touchline, for what was her second of the afternoon, having opened the team’s account a little earlier.  Coming, as it did, so immediately upon McKeown’s must have surely demoralised the opposing players who, nevertheless, did cross for their own try shortly afterwards.

Having been provider for one score, Fellingham was able to benefit herself from a second-half, clean break, which she backed up, and then, once in possession, ran a clever line to cross for a try of  her own.

Tries only come, however, as a result of tremendous hard work from other players throughout the squad, and it would be most fitting, after such a tremendous victory, to pay due respect to those who have the task of making the hard metres up the field, who take the hard knocks in contact, and who wear down their opponents, and themselves, with their no-stop tackling, when on defence.  Without their efforts, week in, week out, we would never be in a position to score tries, let alone bag eight in one match.

Attention now turns to this coming Sunday, when, once again, the team set off on their travels, this time on the much shorter journey into Yorkshire, to take on Oulton, in a rearranged fixture from the first weekend of the season.  The team now appears to have a winning formula for every game.  All they need to do is to stick with that through thick and thin for their rest of the season, and they can now always be confident that they can come through it with some success, at the end.

SALFORD

Luci McKeown, Lauren Ellison, Steph Gray, Viki Kini, Eponine Fletcher, Louise Fellingham, Demi Jones, Darcey Price, Tamzin Corcoran Yasmin Parton-Sotomayor, Kayleigh Bradshaw, Sarina Tamou, Megan Condliffe

Substitutes:

Laura Bent, Katie Garry, Casey Naylor, Abi Collins, Helena Walker, Hanna Wicks

SALFORD PROGRESS TO CUP SEMI-FINAL STAGE

SALFORD PROGRESS TO CUP SEMI-FINAL STAGE

Illingworth 6  Salford Red Devils 40                           Match Report

With almost remarkable predictability, Salford Red Devils’ women’s team continues to go from strength to strength, with last Sunday’s most impressive cup victory, away at Illingworth, taking them, after merely a month since their first competitive game, straight into the semi-finals of the League Cup.

The team was pleased to welcome back fullback, Luci McKeown, after missing the Dewsbury encounter, the previous week, and also Katie Garry onto the substitutes’ bench for what was to be her debut game.

That they really meant business was quite evident from the start, but was spelled out loud and clear after five minutes, when McKeown beat the incredible number of four players to go through to open the scoring, with Demi Jones slotting over the conversion.

Having laid down the gauntlet, it was then up to Illingworth to take up the challenge, and indeed they did just that, limiting the Salford opportunities for scoring, thereafter, for a full fifteen minutes, at the end of which McKeown seized the opportunity of adding another four points to her own growing tally, and put the Red Devils ten points ahead.

Yet again their hosts needed a response, and once again produced one, only this time it also produced a score of their own.  A cluster of penalties awarded to the home side gave them ample opportunity to set up a volley of attacks, over a four-minute period, and ultimately saw them crash through for a converted try, which really put them into contention, at 6-10

It did in fact take the visitors a further ten minutes to reassert their command on the game, and it was the intervention of Steph Gray, once again operating at right centre, who changed things in favour of the Reds.

She followed up her own overhead kick with a chase, filled with sheer determination, and then applied further soccer style skills to direct the ball into the vicinity of the try line, where, who should appear as if from nowhere to complete what must be one of the fastest hat-tricks to have been scored at this level, but Luci McKeown.

With Jones’s conversion the Salford team was able to retire to the changing-rooms at half time, with a 6-16 lead, and within three minutes of the resumption, following some magnificent carries by the forwards, which built up both momentum and an attacking platform, Lauren Ellison, on the right wing, charged down a kick then to beat the fullback to the ball for  what was probably a most crucial of tries, converted by McKeown.

The importance of this try was more the effect it had on the Illingworth side than its impact on the scoreboard, for to concede tries either side of half time, as they had done, is quite demoralising, despite their brave efforts in the first half, and  this one proved to be the one which opened the floodgates for a procession of scores.

Five minutes later slick hands from team captain, Louise Fellingham and McKeown, that had been started with an onward tip by Meg Condliffe, put Gray over near the corner, too far out for a successful conversion. 6-26

Kayleigh Bradshaw was next on the scoresheet with her try again being converted by McKeown, on 58 mins, with Fellingham crossing four minutes later, and Demi Jones returning to goal-kicking duties, to add the extras and take the Salford score to thirty-six.

Possibly the most popular try among the players, however, was their final one by Eponine Fletcher, with her first ever score, from a floating pass from Fellingham after she had combined with half back partner Jones, to ring up the forty.

After such a romp of a second half it is now going to be essential for the group to refocus, ahead of their next match which will involve the prospect of a long journey to Hull KR, this coming weekend.

SALFORD:

Luci McKeown, Lauren Ellison, Steph Gray, Alex Simpson, Eponine Fletcher, Louise Fellingham, Demi Jones, Laura Bent, Tamzin Corcoran, Darcey Price, Yasmin Parton-Sotomayor, Kayleigh Bradshaw, Megan Condliffe

Substitutes:

Jenna Monks, Katie Garry, Casey Naylor, Abi Collins

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Sean Lunt, Omaga Photography, for Team Photograph above

Sign up to the official newsletter