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