BY ANGELA POWERS
It was an afternoon of end-to-end action, tries aplenty and four seasons in a day. While at one end of the ground the rain fell in fat, wet splodges, at the other the sun shone through a stunning rainbow…not that the conditions mattered that much to the two teams of 13 out on the Stanningley pitch.
Oulton Raidettes arrived with a mission – to improve upon the opening round result of 62-0 against Thatto Heath St Helens. And that they did, with a game hanging in the balance at 18-18 with about 15 minutes left on the clock.
Stanningley had run out 56-10 victors the week before against Premier League newcomers Wakefield Trinity, so the Oulton side were on their guard. But this turned out to be nothing like the routs of the week previously.
Stanningley Captain Rachael Barker scored a hat-trick in a performance which saw her leading by example. Emily Johnston scored a brace, while Sophie Robinson broke the stalemate with a breakaway try along the right touchline, to edge the home side in front, a lead they’d never lose.
A delighted Barker said: “It was very hard fought. In the first half we were struggling and we had to wake up, but I am glad we were able to come together as a team. It is what this sport is about, gelling together and I am so happy with the girls.
“We have all got jobs and come together on a Sunday, putting our bodies on the line just for the love of the sport and the social life of it. I have played rugby since I was 9 it’s a big part of my life. When the sun’s shining and you might think it’d be nice to be in a beer garden with a cold pint of cider and the sun on your face, I know I’d rather be doing this.”
Amie Backhouse and Reaga Walker were among the scorer’s for Oulton.
Their coach, Matty Bullough, said: “That was an awakening for us last week and today we wanted to come out and be competitive. Unfortunately we slacked off a little bit and just gave away a bit too much. This is a good, fast, wide pitch and if you slack off and give away too much possession you are gonna get caught in the end.
“There are girls who have played through summer and winter, back to back with no pre-season so it is tough, but there are lots of positives…we had a couple of girls who did 70 mins in the under 16s yesterday which was a big ask, and we have a lot of young girls in the side, but I do think we did really well with that in mind.
“Their half back Tasha Gaines really guided them around and our halfback Laura Teasdale had a good game too. Some great effort on both sides, not a win but as I say, we will take lot of positives from that.”
You can see the other results from the Women’s Premier Division here
Below are action shots of the game, and Her RL is happy for them to be reproduced elsewhere as long as Her RL is credited.