SALFORD THREE-QUARTERS GRAB THE TRIES

Salford 30  Bradford 4                     Match Report

Following the Reserves’ Saturday afternoon victory over Newcastle, Salford Red Devils’ 150th Anniversary Celebration Weekend continued the following day with the first of the Double Headers continuing the vein of success for the Reds, with a comprehensive win over the visiting Bradford side.

It was the Reds’ three-quarter line which claimed all six of the tries, split evenly between left and right flanks, but with the two centres, Alex Simpson and Steph Gray both outscoring their respective colleagues on the wing, Holly Jones and Lauren Ellison, by an extra try each.

Although scoring tries is predominantly the sphere of the backs, it is not necessarily the way in which every game unfolds, but the fact that each of them, on this occasion, went to a three-quarter is a testament not only to them but the rest of the team.

The hard work, in the form of strong carries, was willingly undertaken by the forwards, who wore down their opposition via both their surging runs and unrelenting tackles, whilst the remaining members of the back division contributed with slick handling, which was so evident in the build up to each score.

In scrum half, Demi Jones’s case, however, she is every bit as dangerous with her boot as she is with her hands, and that was most evident in her contribution to the first try, on six minutes.  A good, well-controlled attack saw an overlap being forced on the right edge, on the last tackle of the set.  As the ball continued to be moved towards the right, Jones decided to take the quick route to securing the score by putting an overhead kick to the corner, where her namesake, Holly Jones, took the ball unopposed, and grounded in the corner, to give the Red Devils a 4-0 lead.

Ten minutes later, another attack saw the ball initially being sent from right to left, until this was suddenly reversed back inside to left centre Steph Gray to cut through for the first of her brace, giving Demi Jones her easiest kick of the half, of which she successfully took advantage.

The 23rd minute saw the ball travel the full width of the pitch to the left, where Gray again was able to find space to go over close to the corner, to establish a 14-0 half time lead.

In many respect the second half was almost a repetition of the first, though with the added ingredient of a Bradford try, on 55 mins, of which few would deny them, as they had gamely battled throughout to limit the number of points they conceded, whilst producing a number of assaults on the Salford line.

It had, however, been left winger, Lauren Ellison, who had opened the scoring of the half, ten minutes in, and indeed it was a mere four minutes after the visitors’ try before the Reds erased it courtesy of Alex Simpson, and Jones’s extending the lead by a further two points to 26-4.  Simpson then went one further with the final score of the match seven minutes from time.

Following the blank weekend the team will return to action next Sunday in an away fixture at Leigh, with considerably more confidence than they have had when facing our near neighbours in previous encounters.

SALFORD

Sage Bannister, Holly Jones, Alex Simpson, Stephanie Gray, Lauren Ellison, Louise Fellingham, Demi Jones, Megan Condliffe, Tamsin Corcoran, Emerald Hickey, Victoria Kini, Brogan Evans

Substitute

Abi Collins, Summer Harris, Jessica Panayiotou, Aofie McKenna

18th Player:  Hannah Wicks

RED DEVILS SECURE THEIR FIRST SUPER LEAGUE DOUBLE

Salford 22  Castleford 10               Match Report

In the first of Sunday’s Double Headers, the Salford Red Devils’ Ladies Team celebrated their first fixture of the season on the main pitch by securing their first ever Super League double, beating the visiting Castleford Tigers.

The two teams had previously met at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle in the opening round, back in mid-April, with the Red Devils running out winners with a not dissimilar scoreline of 20-8, whilst on Sunday the Tigers were given no time to settle as the home side hit the straps in the opening exchanges with the first try coming in only the third minute.

A clever dummy by scrum half, Demi Jones, completely foxed the Castleford defence, with her pass to Sage Bannister putting her in the clear, and she romped over to open the team’s account.  Jones, unfortunately however, saw her attempted conversion strike the near upright and bounce out.

It was almost a quarter of an hour later before they were able to improve on that four-pointer, but when it came, it proved to be the try of the match, and once again it was Bannister who took the plaudits.  A Tigers’ end-of-set kick was well taken by hooker, Taz Corcoran, who fed it to the Salford speedster, who in turn raced seventy-five metres, outpacing every desperately pursuing defender to score between the posts.  This time, with the only straightforward, and successful, kick of the afternoon, Jones made no mistake in adding on the conversion to bring the score to 10-0.

Although the visitors had had a somewhat torrid opening period as they struggled to match Salford’s greater consistency of teamwork, they did, nevertheless, have a number of talented players, who, individually, posed a significant threat when given space in which to run.

As early as the eleventh minute, they had worked space onto their right flank and it was only down to excellent chasing back, by left centre, Steph Gray, that the threat was snuffed out by her over-hauling and bringing down the would-be scorer.

When, however, that self-same attacker was put, once again, into the clear, on 21 mins, she, this time, had too great a start on her opposing centre, and it was down to a last–ditch tackle by fullback, Bannister, here showing her sound defensive capabilities, which prevented a try.  Five minutes later, though, it proved to be third time lucky for the Tigers as they got onto the scoreboard tightening the score to 10-4.

It was, nevertheless, the Red Devils, who had the final say of the half, when recently introduced substitute, Yaz Parton-Sotomayor, who, in what is proving to be her best season so far, having laid on a try the week before via what has been described as a barnstorming run through the defence,  repeated that very act once again, only this time going over herself for an unconverted try in the left-hand corner to set up a 14-4 half-time score.

It was only a matter of a few minutes before the Reds improved further on that lead, thanks to their patience and unrelenting pressure to gain three back-to-back sets, including one from an enforced goal-line drop-out, and telling, well-timed passes, from Corcoran and Bannister, put Gray into space down the left flank to score in the corner.

An absolutely great break from another of the bench players, Abi Collins, on 55 mins set up the position for their final try, which came two minutes later, when right centre, Alex Simpson, who had earlier gone over the line but been prevented from grounding, had the satisfaction of going over successfully from Bannister’s pass.

Although, on 66 mins the Tigers pulled back another try, which they this time converted, the Red Devils were never in danger of losing their lead, which proved to be sufficiently comfortable to see out the remainder of the game..

The Reds now have a blank weekend, and opportunity to recharge batteries before making the return trip to Barrow in a fortnight’s time.

SALFORD

Sage Bannister, Hollie Jones, Alex Simpson, Steph Gray, Lauren Ellison, Louise Fellingham, Demi Jones, Megan Condliffe, Tamzin Corcoran, Emerald Hickey, Helena Walker, Phoebe Partington, Brogan Evans

Substitutes

Abi Collins, Yasmin Parton-Sotomayor, Hanna Wicks, Aoiefe McKenna

RED DEVILS START SUPER LEAGUE WITH A WIN

Salford Red Devils started their Super League career in style, in yesterday’s opening round visit to Castleford, with a reasonably comfortable victory over the Tigers, at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.  Any visit into Yorkshire which results in a win is most commendable, and their near total dominance throughout the first half was most impressive.

It was in only the second minute of the game that they went in front, following a Castleford handling error in their own half, and on the back of good carries on the first four tackles they were able to send the ball along the line to the left where fullback, Luci McKeown, cut through to score and open the Reds’ account. 

Unfortunately, her attempted conversion hit the post.

Scoring tries, however, came rather more readily and it was only a matter of five minutes from the resumption that they went over again.  A quite noteworthy set, in which the Red Devils, thanks to their forwards in particular, went a full seventy metres down field to force a goal-line drop-out, set up further possession in an ideal part of the field to attack again. 

This time, it was second rower, Helena Walker who touched down in the right-hand corner to double the Salford lead, but sadly it was to turn out to be one of her last contributions to the match, as she was forced to leave the field a few minutes later after sustaining a leg injury in a tackle.

Completely against the run of play, in the 16th minute, Cas, on one of their first forays into their visitors’ twenty-metre area, caught out the right edge defence, working an overlap on the wing for a try in the corner, thereby narrowing the score to 4-8.

The truly decisive period of the game, let alone the half, came in a ten-minute period, in the run up to the half hour mark, in which the Salford players took the score to 4-16, with two further tries. The first of these came direct from a scrum on the Tigers’ twenty metre line, with the ball being moved to the right.  On arrival in right centre Alex Simpson’s hands, she cut back inside, wrongfooting the Castleford defence, and enabling her to score by the posts.

That dummy-half, Taz Corcoran, was able to score her try merely by picking up the ball and taking only a couple of steps forward to place it over the line, was almost unbelievable, but there had been a speedy play-the-ball, and she had spotted the opportunity well.   Thankfully, the 4-16 half-time lead it opened up gave the team some cushioning for the second half.

Indeed, the lead might well have been even greater, when, in the final minute of the half, centre, Steph Gray went over in the left-hand corner, only for the wide pass to her to be judged to be forward.

This cushioning they had given themselves was to be needed, however, during the second half, when forms and fortunes were, surprisingly, reversed, and the early warning of this came within ten minutes of the resumption, when Castleford put together their best move of the game, to score, once again, in the left corner.

That it took Salford almost twenty minutes to eradicate that score was something of a surprise, but, in fairness, their second-half performance was well below that of the first forty, with a number of wayward passes going to ground and each error returning possession to their opponents.  The longer this went on the more the Tigers grew in confidence, and the more frustrated Salford seemed to become.

One element of the performance which really helped their cause though, was Sam Evans’s penalty kicks to touch, which gained remarkable distance with the two opportunities she was given, putting the team on the attack, when they had been unable to gain the position by other means.  

A one-on-one ball-steal by Alex Simpson, early in a Cas set, regained the Reds possession, and this time the ball was moved accurately and effectively to the left, where, to recompense her for her earlier disappointment, Gray straightened up the line to go over towards the left-hand corner, on 67 minutes, to calm any mounting nerves.

It still, nevertheless, required some determined and impressive defensive work for much of the remaining time, not least in the minutes leading up to the 73rd, when they had to defend no less than five repeat sets, mainly caused by penalties against over-eager defenders running offside.

Survive it all they did, though, and with a twelve-point winning margin, and their first ever two Super League points to bring back over the Pennines, it was a result to be celebrated, and will hopefully set them up for next week’s Women’s Challenge Cup tie against Featherstone Rovers.  Please note that the kick off for this game as been changed 12.00.

SALFORD:

Luci McKeown, Katie Garry, Alex Simpson, Steph Gray, Lauren Ellison, Louise Fellingham, Sam Evans, Megan Condliffe, Tamzin Corcoran, Sarina Tamou, Helena Walker, Victoria Kini, Brogan Evans

REPLACEMENTS

Abi Collin, Hannah Wicks, Summer Harris, Emerald Hickey

RED DEVILS’ DREAM START NOT ENOUGH TO SEAL CHAMPIONSHIP

RED DEVILS’ DREAM START NOT ENOUGH TO SEAL CHAMPIONSHIP

Salford Red Devils 14  Oulton Raidettes 33                            Match Report

After the most wonderful inaugural season for Salford Red Devils ladies’ side, their hopes of finishing as champions were dashed, at the Provident Stadium Odsal, on Sunday last, when, despite getting off to a dream start, they lost their way in a disappointing second half, to go down to a more spirited and composed Oulton Raidettes team.

No-one would have remotely expected that in the early stages, however, with the Red Devils getting off to a dream, early start to proceedings, notching up ten points in as many minutes to send hopes of victory sky-high.

They gained early territorial advantage, having received the kick-off and then being awarded a penalty, and Steph Gray, returning to the team for the first time since breaking her wrist back in June, looked to have scored with her first touch of the ball, in the third minute.  The luxury of having attendant touch judges, however, worked contrary to her hopes, with the near side official ruling a forward pass in the build-up.

This was to matter little, however, with the Raidettes coughing up possession on the second tackle, and a swift move of the ball to the right put winger Lauren Ellison clear in acres of space, to score close in, to which Demi Jones added the conversion.

It was a mere six minutes before Ellison had doubled her account, following a beautiful, flowing passing move along the line giving her enough room to get in towards the corner, too far out for Jones to improve upon.

Comfortable as this all appeared – and there will have been many Salford fans sitting back and anticipating a Salford onslaught of tries – Oulton had hardly touched the ball, and this had been instrumental in the game to this point.

That all changed on the resumption with a Salford handling error in the own half of the field giving the Raidettes their first opportunity to test the Reds’ defence.  Well as this stood up to the challenge on this occasion, their opponents were able to maintain their field dominance, and on 21mins an end-of-set cross-field kick with a rather awkward bounce caught the Red Devils out and Oulton took advantage to open their account, 10-6.

The first sense that this was not going to be Salford’s day came ten minutes afterwards, when they twice were prevented from scoring tries which would have restored their lead and dominance.  For a second time, only three minutes after, Gray, playing on the left wing was denied by a melee of defenders forcing her over the touchline before she could ground the ball.

This misfortune was replicated five minutes later.  Demi Jones was first to the ball, following a loose pass from Oulton on the half-way line, and she twice kicked ahead only to be thwarted by the bounce of the ball in the in-goal area.

A score on either of these occasions would have regained momentum for the Reds, but sadly, this was not the case and it was Oulton who drew level with the first of four tries coming down their right edge, thanks to some extremely well-angled running by their strike players.

Just as it looked as though the teams would be retiring to the dressing rooms level at half-time, events took a most surprising turn in the Red Devils’ favour.  With only three seconds remaining on the clock the ball emerged from the back of a scrum just inside the Salford half to Demi Jones, who fed it to stand-off, Louise Fellingham, by which time the hooter had sounded.  Fellingham responded with a marvellous kick which was hotly pursued by fullback, Alex Simpson, and several Oulton defenders, but Simpson’s pace got her to the ball first, which stood up nicely for her, and she crossed to put her side back in front, 14-10, at the interval.

The story of the second half was a quite different one, and one which was so completely foreign to the Salford Red Devils.  Careless handling coupled with a lack of concentration in defence crept in, and the Raidettes, who had quite clearly used their fortieth minute setback to motivate themselves further, took advantage of each Salford error, scoring a total of twenty-three points without reply, quite deservedly to take the spoils.

The seeds for this below par performance will probably have been sown in previous weeks, not least the one before, when they had suffered a number of injuries in the contest with an extremely physical Hull KR side.  Although there were not many who failed to make the squad this week, many will have been carrying considerable knocks, which inhibited them at times.

In addition, this encounter was the finale to a long and demanding season.  Indeed, our players had played more matches than any other side in the league, not just because of their winning run in the League Cup but also in being one of the very few sides to complete all their league fixtures.  Against a side high with the self-confidence in having been the only team in the league to have beaten Salford, it would seem that the Reds just had no more reserves of energy left to cope with the occasion.

Nevertheless, nothing, not even this disappointment, can take away the incredible success of the side, which has landed two of the three trophies – League Cup and League Leaders’ Shield – available and has provided such wonderful entertaining rugby, in the process.  They can, each and every one of them, hold their heads high and take pride in their totally unanticipated achievements, including participating in yesterday’s Final of this season’s play off competition.

SALFORD

Alex Simpson, Lauren Ellison, Sade Rihari, , Brogan Evans, Steph Gray, Louise Fellingham, Demi Jones, Sarina Tamou, Tamzin Corcoran, Yasmin Parton-Sotomayor, Helena Walker, Victoria Kini, Megan Condliffe

Substitutes:

Luci McKeown, Darcey Price, Hannah Wickes, Abi Collins, Casey Naylor, Gabrielle Chaplin, Eponine Fletcher

RED DEVILS ROMP INTO FIFTIES

Watch the full game on RDTV

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.

Watch the full game on RDTV

SALFORD

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,

Substitutes:

Brogan Evans, Yasmin Parton-Sotomayor, Casey Naylor, Abi Collins, Helena Walker, Jenna Monks, Hanna Wicks

Acknowledgments

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

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

RED DEVILS REACH LEAGUE CUP FINAL

Salford Red Devis 18  Dewsbury Rams 8                 Match Report

In their very first season in the game, Salford’s women’s side defied all the odds by reaching the final of the League Cup, by defeating Dewsbury Rams, in the semi-final at Salford Roosters ground, yesterday.

Hopes had always been high that this might prove to be the case, particularly with home advantage and the knowledge that they had already beaten the visitors in an earlier league encounter, when a number of senior Salford players had been missing.  It still proved, however, as with most semi-finals, to be an extremely tightly fought game, with long spells when the two teams were locked in arm wrestles with each other.

It was, in fact, the visitors, who opened the scoring, crossing out wide for an unconverted try, but the Red Devils were quick to counter with a try, converted by Demi Jones.  Those Taz Corcoran diagonal scoots are becoming most adept in throwing opposition defences into some confusion as each one attracts the attention of the defenders before a neat pass is given, this time to Steph Gray, who glided through to score, putting the home team into a lead which they never lost thereafter.

Five minutes later, a break by fullback, Luci McKeown was well supported by Alex Simpson, also playing in the centre, for her to go over towards the left corner, giving Jones the hardest by far of her kicks, which she did with impeccable accuracy, to ring up a 12-4 lead.

That they were unable to build further on this, during the remainder of the half, was testament to the determination of their visitors, coupled with some little misfortune – Lorraine Ellison had a try ruled out for a forward pass, and McKeown was tackled into touch just short of the try line, after a fine break on fielding an end of set kick – and extremely wearing conditions in the heat with water breaks midway through each half, and a bone hard pitch which sent up clouds of dust, on impact.

It was greatly in contrast to this, therefore, that they opened the second half with a try direct from the restart.  Player of the Match, Louise Fellingham, who as captain had led her team by example yet with support and encouragement throughout the game, received the ball from the kick and then, from a sideways run, layed it off to McKeown, who raced through to score between the posts.  After having landed one from close to the touchline. Jones had no difficulty in keeping her hundred percent success rate with the boot to take the score to 18-6.

Although this concluded Salford’s scoring for the afternoon, the two sides continued to battle it out in an arm-wrestle, and indeed the Red Devils were made to fight every minute of the way to retain their hold on the game.

Being put under considerable pressure, when in possession, they were forced into an above average number of handling errors, which promptly brought even more defensive work, while the intense heat was most energy sapping.  Nevertheless, their defence on so many occasions proved equal to the challenge, succumbing only in the final minute of play to the Rams’ late consolation try.

Nothing, however, could dent the euphoria with which the team greeted the final whistle, and it would be nigh on impossible to overstate their outstanding achievement of progressing into the final, on 31st July.  For a group of individuals to come together, many of them as strangers to one another, and then to be successful in such a high-pressured situation as a cup semi-final, is most remarkable.

Their opponents in the final will be the winners of the other semi-final between Hull KR and Orrel St James.  That is for later, however.  For now, let us all just enjoy their wonderful achievement, and celebrate this, their most recent success.

SALFORD:

Luci McKeown, Lauren Ellison, Steph Gray, Alex Simpson, Katie Garry, Louise Fellingham, Demi Jones, Abi Collins, Tamzin Corcoran, Darcey Price, Viki, Kayleigh Bradshaw, Megan Condliffe

Substitutes:

Hannah Wicks, Yasmin Parton-Sotomayor, Brogan Evans, Casey Naylor, Jenna Monks, Eponine Fletcher, Helena Walker

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Sean Monks, Omaga Photography, for above photograph

Media Consultant – Gabby Chaplin

RED DEVILS GRIND OUT LATEST WIN

Widnes 4  Salford Red Devils 22                  Match Report

Sitting, for the fourth week, at the top of the Ladies Championship table, the Salford Red Devils travelled to Widnes at the weekend for what had long been expected to be a most keenly fought encounter, and which did indeed live up to those expectations.

Apart from the fact that a number of the Salford players had, at one time been part of the Vikings’ squad, there had also been an earlier Cup game which had not gone ahead, making this fixture all the more important.

With such additional pressure on the players, it was perhaps understandable that the team was somewhat more subdued in their performance from their usual flamboyant style, allowing themselves to be dragged into an arm wrestle, which, to some extent, stunted their overall performance.  Had they stuck with their normal approach, the likelihood is that they would have won by a greater margin.

Despite a bright start, in which the visitors twice crossed their hosts’ line in the first five minutes both scores were disallowed, heralding a somewhat frustrating afternoon for the Salford players.  In fact, it was Widnes who seemed to benefit from that opening salver by going up field and returning the pressure they themselves had just endured.

It was, to a certain extent, therefore, against the run of play, at that particular time, that Salford took the lead, thanks to right centre, Steph Gray’s incisive run through, to score the first try of the afternoon on fifteen minutes.  Demi Jones’s conversion was equally on the mark to complete the six.

It was a further ten minutes before the Red Devils were able to expand upon this, but it was well worth waiting for, when they did.  Good forward drives from deep within their own half, brought them into the Widnes twenty metre area, and a tap-penalty on the right-hand edge set up, second row forward, Serina Tamou, with a beautifully angled surge through the defensive line to score in a similar position to Gray’s opener, which quite suited Jones for her second successful conversion attempt.

Having fallen twelve points behind, the home side promptly stepped up[ their game and produced a period of attack, from which they narrowed the Salford lead, by four points, shortly before half time.  A diagonal kick into the right-hand corner was pounced upon by their right winger to ground the ball in the corner.

The fillip which this gave the Widnes players was probably only to be expected, and they threw everything they had at the Salford line in the first ten minutes of the second half.  It took some tremendous goal-line defence, including a couple of try saving tackles to prevent their lead being further eroded.

Once they had weathered the storm, however, it was the visitors who returned to the attack, and provided Gray with the second of what is proving to be her weekly brace of tries.  She picked up a loose ball close to the right-hand touch line and took advantage of some space to get herself over the line, too far out for Jones to convert, but, nevertheless, restoring their lead to twelve points, once again, 4-16.

It was not then until some fifteen minutes from time that the Reds were able to improve upon this lead, when dummy-half, Taz Corcoran, caught the Widnes defence napping at a play-the-ball, and scooted diagonally across the field, fifteen metres out, to straighten up and cross the line, as with all the other tries, to the right of the posts, for Jones to kick them to a comfortable, though not commanding, 6-22 lead and ultimate victory.

With no Reds’ fixture this weekend, second placed Warrington and third placed Oulton will be fighting for the opportunity either to close the gap on the Red Devils, or, in Warrington’s case, to draw level with them at the top of the table, all of which puts the importance of this latest Salford victory, into context.

SALFORD

Alex Simpson, Lauren Ellison, Steph Gray, Vannessa Hadley, Katie Garry, Louise Fellingham, Demi Jones, Darcy Price, Tamzin Corcoran, Abi Collins, Kayleigh Bradshaw, Serina Tamou, Megan Condliffe

Substitutes

Hannah Wicks, Yasmin Parton-Sotomayor, Casey Naylor, Brogan Evans, Eponine Fletcher

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Sean Lunt, Omaga Photography, for above photograph showing, from left to right, Casey Naylor, Alex Simpson, Brogan Evans, Louise Fellingham, Hannah Wicks

Media Consultant – Gabby Chaplin

RED DEVILS REPEAT HUMBERSIDE ROMP

On the back of their magnificent victory at Hull KR, a month ago, the Red Devils returned to Humberside, yesterday, to chalk up an equally impressive result, this time on the western side of the River Hull, against the black & whites of Hull FC.

As has been the case with a number of their outings, the Salford players were a little slow in getting into their stride, and it was the home side which had the better of the early exchanges, having ample possession, with which to challenge the visitors’ defence, over the first ten to fifteen minutes.

The Red Devils were, nevertheless, able to keep their opponents at bay, although not without the adversity of losing their highly-rated fullback, Luci McKeown, quite early in the proceedings, with a leg injury, from which she did not return.  As a consequence, some hasty rearrangements to the line-up needed to be made, with her replacement, Brogan Evans coming on as hooker, Taz Corcoran moving to loose forward, both of whom made considerable impact on the game, and centre, Alex Simpson, taking over at fullback, from where she scored a most spectacular try.

The team had spent the week’s training sessions undertaking work to increase the intensity of both their attack and defence, particularly, but not exclusively, among the forwards, who were also buoyed by the return of Megan Condliffe, who had missed the last two matches.  The considerable success of all this became evident as the game progressed, with the pack laying the foundations of the victory with their strong drives up the field, and the hard tackles with which they hit their opponents.

It was as a consequence of this that almost all of their eight tries came initially from those hard metres they made in the early parts of sets, which sucked the Hull players into the middle of the field, whereupon the Reds were able to send the ball out wide to the backs, who then had sufficient room to combine with one another to produce the collection of tries, which ensued.

One in the first half, which was slightly different from the others, however, was their second, which came as a result of slick, left to right, cross-field, handling, which eventually produced an overlap for right wing Lauren Ellison to go over.

The one drawback from their overall style of play on the day, was that not a single try was scored near the posts, making the possibility of a conversion somewhat remote, and indeed they were successful in only two of their kicks, one each from Kayleigh Bradshaw and Demi Jones, both of which were in the first half, to ring up a 20-0 half time score alongside tries from Louise Fellingham (2), Sarina Tamou, and Ellison’s above mentioned score.

With Salford’s first touch of the ball in the second half, Alex Simpson went much of the length of the field, after taking the ball from Hull’s end-of-set kick, to continue the succession.  To complement their earlier successful goalkicks, Jones and Bradshaw also crossed, followed by Steph Gray to complete the set.

With the Yorkshire side still without a point, hopes were high that the Reds could return home having secured their first nilling of an opposition.  To their credit, however, Hull regrouped for one last minute assault on the Salford line, and succeeded in going over for a try close enough to the posts for it to be turned into a six-pointer, which meant that the nilling would have to wait ‘til another day.  That, though, certainly did not detract from the most impressive, and highly entertaining, performance of the Salford side, who will now travel to Widnes, next Sunday, for what is expected to be one of the most keenly fought encounters of the season.

SALFORD:

Luci McKeown, Lauren Ellison, Steph Gray, Alex Simpson, Eponine Fletcher, Louise Fellingham, Demi Jones, Megan Condliffe, Tamzin Corcoran, Darcey Price, Sarina Tamou, Kayleigh Bradshaw, Vanessa Hadley

Substitutes:

Laura Bent, Brogan Evans, Casey Naylor, Abi Collins, Helena Walker

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Sean Lunt, Omaga Photography, for above photograph showing, from left to right, Salford’s Demi Jones, Brogan Evans, and Abi Collins

Media Consultant – Gabby Chaplin

RED DEVILS RETURN TO WINNING WAYS

Salford Red Devils 22 Stanningley 16

Following two outings in which the Salford side have made rather slow starts to each game, in this latest encounter with visiting Stanningley, they went to the other extreme of scoring all but six of their twenty-two points in the combined first, five-minute periods of each half.  The return of four key players, who had missed the recent reversal at Oulton, buoyed the team for what was only their second home fixture.

The game had been underway for barely forty seconds when the visitors were dealt a severe blow, on the fourth tackle of the first set, in which one of their players was carried off having sustained a serious ankle injury, which required hospital attention.

It took a mere two minutes, after the resumption of play, for the Red Devils to open their account.  Good handling, from right to left, put fullback, Luci McKeown, in the clear down the left flank, and her onward pass to Alex Simpson, enabled the centre to make a most unexpected change of direction.  With everyone expecting her to go for the corner, she cut back inside at a surprisingly acute angle, where there was enough space for her to coast through and score by the posts, giving Demi Jones a simple conversion.

Retrospectively, to have scored so early, and seemingly so easily, was possibly not the best thing for the team, who, mistakenly as it turned out, assumed that they would be able to score almost at will.  In fairness, that was probably the assumption on the side-lines as supporters eagerly awaited a volley of scores.

Instead, however, when the stubborn Stanningley defence thwarted the next assaults on their line, an element of frustration crept in, which led to a number of handling errors, giving the visitors an ample supply of the ball.  The consequent growth in their self-belief made them more and more of a threat, and there were several close calls on the Salford try-line, most significantly when their left winger crossed in the corner, only for her opposite number, Lauren Ellison, to cause her to lose control of the ball, as she went to ground it.

Despite the seemingly incessant pressure they were under, the home side stood firm.  Their defence was tested on several occasions, yet they still managed to keep their line intact, and there were some really hard tackles, some of which forced a loss of possession.  Two of the more eye-catching came from second rower, Serina Tamou, who, herself, had to retire temporarily to the side-line with a hand injury, while the above mentioned try-saver, by Lauren Ellison, was only one of a number of hard hits she made on other players, some much bigger than herself.

The lack of any further score was, however, a matter of some concern, with the Red Devils having the benefit of the downward slope of the pitch.  Six points was barely a lead at all, and one would have expected that they would have been turning round at the interval, at least two or three tries to the good, if they were going to withstand the forays of attacks, which the visitors would surely send their way, when going downhill in the second half.

When, therefore, Salford were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, on 38 mins, they most sensibly chose to take the two points, but concerns must still have remained, over the interval, that this would be insufficient to win the game.

Early in the game as they had scored at the start, they were even quicker in the second half to do so.  Having received the ball from the kick off, the forwards made a series of four tremendous carries upfield to take the game to the Stanningley, twenty metre line where the ball was moved swiftly along the line to the right, via Louise Fellingham, Abi Collins, McKeown, and Taz Corcoran, to feed Steph Gray to extend their lead to twelve points.

The half time team talk had clearly been about making metres up the hill, when in possession, and from the resumption the forwards took over once again, until, from dummy-half thirty metres out, McKeown caught out the first line of defence with a scoot, before then rounding the fullback, to score under the posts, giving Jones an easy conversion.

Even at eighteen points down, the Stanningley team were not going away, and not having touched the ball in the half, were determined to make a game of it, once they did, when it became back to the hard graft of defence, with McKeown’s upending of her opposite number, in full flight down the field, being among the most notable.

Nerves, however, started to twitch as the half went on with the pressure on them growing, and it was no surprise when the visitors eventually got on the scoreboard at 18-6, on 52 mins, and then narrowed the margin further to 18-10, eight minutes later.

It was at this point when the team really showed its character.  As in the past, instead of panicking, they just took control, set up an attack with Casey Naylor using her power and strength to force herself over, after receiving a quick pass from Corcoran at dummy half, for her first try in a competitive game.

The twelve-point lead that this restored proved to be crucial, as yet again, Stanningley launched another successful attack to have the final say, on seventy-two minutes, but with Salford then holding out for the remainder of the game.

 

SALFORD

Lucy McKeown, Lauren Ellison, Steph Gray, Alex Simpson, Eponine Fletcher, Louise Fellingham, Demi Jones, Darcy Price, Tamzin Corcoran, Abi Collins, Serina Tamou, Helena Walker, Laura Bent

Substitutes

Vannessa Hadley, Hannah Wicks, Yasmin Parton-Sotomayor,  Casey Naylor, Jenna Monks

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Thank you to Steve McCormick for photograph, above,  showing Salford’s defence at its best, with, from left to right, Captain and Player of the Match Louise Fellingham, Abi Collins, Helen Walker, and Taz Corcoran

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

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