Building on the momentum gained in the previous week’s cup match, Castleford RUFC U18s took a good squad of 13 to Scarborough RUFC. This was another exciting and competitive game where the result was on a knife edge right up to the final minute.
The home team started well, probably through being used to the bracing condition of rain and a biting wind! They went ahead by two tries and then Castleford clawed their way back into the game with a try from Tally Bryer and the pattern of the game was set with Scarborough strong at the breakdowns and Cas a little freer in their running.
Defences were good on both sides and the Castleford forwards put in excellent shifts with Shania Lawrence, Lily Williams, Beth Spanner and Holly Hicks to the fore, as in the previous week's game. The midfield of Bobbie Wardy, Emily Heaps and Bryer impressed going forward but also with their cover tackling and chasing.
It was an all-round solid team performance with everyone contributing but the plaudits must go to Bryer whose tackling was first class and time and again her defensive kicks gained good ground. Even more, she excelled herself with a superb solo try running from her own half and side-stepping tackles before straightening up to run down the middle of the field before a clever hitch kick and dummy gave her the space to beat the last defenders to score the try.
The Cas girls got stronger as the game went on and won crucial turnovers at critical times. The best was left to the last though, as good work by the forwards took them 40 metres upfield from deep in their own half. After a quick tap penalty by Wardy the ball was fed to Heaps whose subtle pass caught Williams running a great line. Heaps then wrapped round before releasing Bryer to cross the line for her fourth try of the game and run in to allow Wardy a simpler, but still pressure, conversion kick to end the game with that two-point difference.
It was the first outing of the season for Castleford RUFC U15s but nobody would have noticed. Thanks to a determined effort the goal of getting a side together for the away trip to Scarborough was achieved. A squad of 8 was gelled really well together despite some playing their first game of union. They made light of the wet and blowy conditions with Ebony Stead and Poppy Adams leading the side well. Try scorers were Stead (7), Adams (5), Harriet Hirst (2) Frankie Blakey (2) with Olivia Screene, Tegan Sant and Lexie Hagues adding one each. A satisfying performance to build on.
It was a whole new experience for the U13s; going on a team bus, singing with the U18s, playing in the cold and wet conditions and sharing players with the opposition to play against their teammates, but they coped admirably. A squad of 13 was taken to Scarborough and to even up the sides on the day to 11 v 11, two girls from Cas played for the hosts swapping throughout the game so that every Cas girl did play at one time for Scarborough.
It was a competitive game throughout and each one of the Cas girls improved at least one aspect of their game in an exciting match. Team play and rucking is improving and defensive lines are being established but the real takeaway from this game is the team spirit, encouragement for others and their determination. LJ Carson deserved her POTM award for her all-round effort and scoring a try. Other try scorers were Kahmani Sene-lefao, Abi Teece, Lilly Platt, Dina Santos (2) and Alicja Kadziak.
The hospitality at Scarborough was very friendly and, with the enjoyable bus journey, this added to the success of the day.
Thanks to Richard Gould for the photograph - Emily Heaps releasing the ball to Tally Bryer.