BRIGHOUSE Rangers welcomed 20 girls’ rugby league teams from across the country to Brighouse Sports Club last Saturday for the Brighouse Cross County Girls Rugby League Festival, writes Charlotte Henbest.
Counties represented were Yorkshire and the Humber, North West, Cumbria and North East and over 200 girls took part.
Teams competed at under-12s, under-14s and under-16s levels and support from parents was outstanding.
The players stepped up to the mark in the hope they would be noticed and requested to join the RFL’s performance pathway courses next year.
The under-12s tournament had a strong Yorkshire presence and saw a combined Castleford and Chorley side compete against a St Helens, Widnes and Outwood side and a combined Stanningley and St Joseph’s team.
Good defence was shown by the Castleford and Chorley side throughout the day.
St Joseph’s with Outwood and Stanningley were not disheartened and kept their attack alive bouncing over the line time and time again.
However, a strong Saints and Widnes side travelled well and caused problems for the competing teams by running hard and tackling with passion.
The largest age group, the under-14s, was split into two groups to enable every player to fulfil their hour’s playing allowance for the day.
Group A was dominated by the Yorkshire teams Castleford Panthers and St Joseph’s but the North West sides kept hitting back at them.
In Group B, the North West sides ruled but the Yorkshire teams – Queensbury/Outwood, Stanningley/Farnley/ Hunslet/East Hull and Calderdale team, Brighouse/Greetland/Ovenden, came together nicely and played well giving the North West teams a run for their money.
Defensively strong teams Warrington/Leigh Miners/ Widnes and Chorley/Rochdale/St Helens were not unopposed and Brighouse/Greetland/Ovenden refused to let them dominate by sending in their hard runners Nicole Riach and Lorna Whitley (Brighouse) and Dana (Greetland).
Try saving tackles from Brighouse stand-off Jade Higgins and hooker Brooke Thompson ensured that the North West team’s victory was not comfortable.
The Under-16s again with strong Yorkshire teams saw Castleford and Rochdale with their own full squads taking on St Joseph’s / Queensbury / Ovenden, Farnley / Hunslet / Greetland / East Hull and Barrow / Cramlington.
Castleford proved to be a strong brick wall again for their opponents. A well drilled team gave the North East some excellent competition, as did St Joseph’s/ Queensbury/Ovenden whose attacking was second to none and Lucy Eastwood of St Joseph’s read the game well to take her team to victory in two out of three games.