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