Ladies Rugby League Is Alive And Kicking

As you can guess from the headline, ladies rugby league is real and it looks very healthy if the game I saw, when Hull Wyke Ladies RL visited RAF Cranwell, is anything to go by.

I met the team from Hull and traveled with them on their team minibus to the RAF College in Lincolnshire where they were to play their third game against the ladies from the military.

On the way I found out more about how the team came about, what they want to achieve and how they see the club developing as I spoke to team manager/secretary Sally Ellerington.

Telling me about how the team came together it’s obvious social media played a very large part: “We put it on Facebook and people got in touch through that as the word spread through friends and families.”

With team coach Danny ‘Choppy’ Devine having just passed his level 2 coaching course with the RFL I asked her if she will be doing the same qualification as him, she said: “i don’t know about that yet, maybe further down the line if we get some youth teams together then I’ll consider it.”

I asked about the possible development of youth teams and she confirmed this is definitely something they want to do in the future, she said: “Yes that’s definitely something we want to do further down the line yeah, we’ve talked about having under 12’s and under 15’s teams.”

Her advice to other people wishing to start up a ladies team is clear, “Be prepared for it to take up a lot of your time.

“We came together quite quick but it takes a lot of your own time especially getting in touch with the RFL and then other teams to arrange fixtures and contacting players to tell them ‘be here at this time’ but it is all absolutely worth it.”

Sally also confirmed that Hull Wyke Ladies do have some sponsors in place but would welcome more with open arms.

Once the interview was over the music was soon re-started as an almost party atmosphere encapsulated the minibus which needs a bungee to hold the door closed.

RAF College Cranwell is a very big site, so big in fact that it has its own car park for its own multi-sports venue which also has its own clubhouse where food and drink was to be served after the match.

Hull Wyke Ladies had previously played Ince Rose Bridge ladies over in Wigan and, before that game, they had played Brighouse from West Yorkshire and had beaten both, this however was likely to be a sterner test of their promising credentials.

The game started at a good pace, in fact if I hadn’t known it was a friendly, I would have sworn that the intensity was of a league match standard.

Playing 30 minutes each way it gave the ladies plenty of time and opportunity to show their undoubted talent in defence, attack and all round intensity, while an unmistakable comradeship and respect pervaded.

It was difficult to pick out the player of the match for the ladies from East Yorkshire in the entertaining 32-32 draw but it came down to between two players Jenna Greening, who’s hat-trick was a definite highlight and Jade Key who, despite her small, slight figure, was throwing bigger RAF ladies to the ground in the tackle with genuine relish and was a definite thorn in the side of the oppositions defence with her distribution and running.

Special mention must also go to Chloe James for some very good goal-kicking.

There was a great sense of tenacity, willingness to work and enthusiasm oozing through both teams and a fantastic team spirit throughout the whole day I spent with Hull Wyke Ladies.

These ladies support the two teams on opposite sides of Hull but they seemingly transcend that great divide when they unite as one team with purpose of entertaining the good folk of Hull with good old fashioned guts, tenacity and blood, sweat and tears on a Sunday afternoon.

The journey has only just begun, but I have a feeling it’s going to be worth absolutely every step.

Ladies under the posts Ladies Teams together Ladies RL Ladies half time Ladies Close Ladies after the match Hull Wyke Ladies

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A Little Jaunt West to East- Day 1

I wasn’t in a very good mood on Saturday 11 July 2015 because I had to get up at 5.00 in the morning and I hadn’t had much sleep the night before, but get up I did with a feeling of a bit of excitement and a bit of tension about what was coming.

Alison Gardner arrived at my flat at 5.30, I’d had breakfast before she got here, and when it got to 6 o clock we set off to the Holiday Inn on the marina which was where we were being picked up at 6.15, carrying plenty of food including chocolate, fruit, breakfast bars and, most importantly, jam sandwiches.

Being stocked up is always a good idea but it can’t half make your neck and shoulders ache carrying loads of food and drink and other stuff in a rucksack on your back.

The minibus was actually early, Darren Palmer picked us up at 6.10, and we went to several other places to pick up fellow walkers, eventually we turned up opposite Darley’s pub to pick up Lisa Jewitt early, and then Darren realised we had missed picking up two other walkers so we dashed off to get them and then came back to find Lisa waiting.

An hour later we were in Castleford outside the Mend A Hose Jungle, home of Castleford Tigers, ready to start our trek back to Hull and the game between our team Hull FC and Castleford Tigers in the Super League.

Start

We set off just after 8 o clock in the morning in bullish mood wondering what the weekend might bring, rugby league was obviously going to be a major talking point but so were practicalities like toilet breaks and eating and drinking.

It depends which way you look at it but it seemed a blessing at first that the sun was out and we were nice and warm and dry and that seemed to lift the already excited mood although maybe not quite as much as the best pair of walking shoes ever seen in Yorkshire.

Footwear

We set a really good pace and were soon walking through places slightly earlier than expected then we had a well earned mini-break in Selby and I was thankfully able to eat and take my medication for my type 2 Diabetes, there was also another photo opportunity.

Selby

After Selby we kept up a punishing speed as thoughts turned to lunchtime and there was a genuine desire to reach a nice country pub so we could sit down, relax and cool off in the shade out of the scorching heat which was by now starting to affect us quite a bit.

Fortunately we found the Fox and Pheasant which is a lovely, traditional country pub and had plenty of ice to put in the drinks, the landlord was obviously very pleased to see a party of 11 charity walkers come in on a Saturday afternoon when there was only one local in at the time.

Fox and Pheasant

A toilet break and a couple of drinks, and nearly toasted jam sandwiches, later and we were ready to carry on walking in the incredible heat and humidity which had dehydrated us in the morning.

Following the Trans Penine Trail is a definite challenge, especially when there’s cows and a bull where you’re walking along the bank of the River Ouse and, of course, they don’t exactly have to aim in anywhere particular when they go to toilet, we were trying to dodge round piles of it for a rather long, uncomfortable distance.

Eventually we got within about 7 miles of the campsite at Newport where we were due to stay that night and left the cows and bulls behind, and the muck, and we had a short break along with Darren and Jodee Sylvester who had come out in the minibus and told us that they had erected our tents and said what a lovely campsite it was.

After a bit more food and drink we set off in confident mood knowing we were coming towards the end of our trek on day 1 and soon came across a sign welcoming us to the historic East Riding of Yorkshire.

Crossing the Border

After completing 30 miles on foot we found we couldn’t walk any further due to a lack of a pavement to walk on and we weren’t going to take any chances on a fast road where cars were travelling easily in excess of 50 or 60 MPH so Darren and Jodee came back out in the minibus to pick us up and take us the last 3 miles to the campsite.

While waiting for the minibus Lisa rang a pub in Newport called The Jolly Sailor and booked us a table for a meal that evening.

On arriving at the campsite we were given a round of applause and a collection soon appeared which the campers had taken for the charity, Life For A Kid, who we were doing this challenge for.

Some of the walkers cracked open cans of lager and Phil Newsom became our official entertainer as he belted out several tunes as he played them on his iPad.

After a shower and a rest we were all ready to go to the Jolly Sailor for the meal we had booked for 8.30, disappointment didn’t really do our feelings justice.

Getting there at 8.10 they weren’t ready for us so we said we would wait in the bar and have a drink, at about 8.45 they came into the bar and took our orders for what we wanted to eat, I ordered a Cumberland Sausage in a giant Yorkshire Pudding with peas, mash and gravy.

About 9 o clock we were told our table was ready and we could go through to the restaurant so through we went.

We were then waiting what seemed a long time so first Lisa and then Jodee went and spoke to them as we grew hungrier and more impatient and I worried because I was breaking out in a cold sweat and my Diabetes was starting to take effect making me feel quite feint.

The response of one of the staff to Jodee telling him we had walked 30 miles that day and were very hungry as a result beggared belief as he replied “Why would they walk that far in one day?”

To say we were disgusted at hearing this is something of an understatement but finally, after waiting more than half an hour we got served with our meals.

To say I was disappointed with the meal itself is also a rather big understatement, it was a cheap frozen Yorkshire Pudding, the type that you can get three for £1 from Asda, as opposed to the home cooked ones that the pub advertised, there were also 3 small frozen sausages that had obviously just been stuck under a grill for a few minutes, instant Smash rather than the proper homemade mash from proper potatoes that they advertised and a tin of peas with a bit of gravy.

Unfortunately by this point I had no option but to eat it because I was so hungry I was feeling sick and, as I’m sure everybody is aware, hunger and Diabetes isn’t a good combination.

After a thoroughly deflating evening we went back to the campsite and collapsed into bed, although I must say that trying to sleep on the floor in a tent isn’t the most comfortable way of spending a night although I did get more sleep than the previous night as sheer exhaustion took over.

End of Day 1

Hull KR 32 Catalans Dragons 26, Rovers Move Within 80 Minutes of Wembley With Tense Victory Over Channel Hoppers

Hull KR put their supporters through agony before booking a first Challenge Cup semi-final since 2006 with a nervous victory over Catalans Dragons after a dominant first half gave way to a substantially less disciplined performance in the second half.

Coach Chris Chester brought hooker Shaun Lunt and prop Dane Tilse back on the bench but the line-up remained largely the same as the 17 who had thumped Warrington Wolves in Super League last week for this Challenge Cup Quarter-Final at the KC Lightstream Stadium.

Catalans got the game underway on a balmy summer evening which might have suited the men from the south of France but the early exchanges saw the home side settling into their stride quicker with a kick from Kelly causing panic behind the Dragons line before the ball was knocked out to force a goal line drop out.

There was early controversy as the Robins were awarded a scrum after Kris Welham had clearly knocked the ball into touch in a tackle on Krisnan Inu, they then took advantage with a fast cross-field move which released Ken Sio down the right to score the first try of the game after seven minutes, the conversion from Josh Mantellato made it 6-0.

Catalans got their first chance at some sustained pressure on the home sides line a few minutes later after a ball was batted down by a Rovers defender to give them a repeat set which then led to Welham attempting an intercept but he was unable to drag the ball in causing more pressure.

Inu then came perilously close to a try but Welham then knocked the ball out of his hands deliberately but referee Phil Bentham gave the home side head and feed wrongly at the scrum.

The red and white’s then moved swiftly down-field and after a dropped ball by the visitors ended up in the hands of Kelly and eventually Kieran Dixon got over the line to stretch the lead after 17 minutes, the conversion from Mantellato made it 12-0.

The next attack from the Robins two minutes later came via a Maurice Blair kick, Mantellato got to the ball before Dragons full-back Morgan Escare and handed the ball on to Kelly to score, another goal from Mantellato made it 18-0.

Catalans then got another scrum inside their oppositions half but facing an organised defence they never really looked like cutting through to get back in the game as the game moved into its second quarter despite forcing a goal line drop out when Dixon was caught behind the line.

A break by Mantellato down the left wing and inside pass which cut-out two Catalans defenders and two Rovers attackers found its way to Graeme Horne for the back rower to go in behind the posts in the 29th minute, the inevitable conversion by Mantellato made it 24-0 and left the men from France facing a gap as wide as the Humber to try and recover.

To their credit the Dragons wouldn’t throw the towel in and a break in mid-field by Louis Anderson saw them set up the platform to build from and a delicious little kick from Elliott Whitehead was dotted down by Inu for their first try after 35 minutes, Scott Dureau was unable to add the extras which left them trailing by 20 points.

Rovers were then awarded another penalty in the last minute of the first half after a high shot on Horne and Mantellato duly obliged from 35 meters out to send his side in at the break 26-4 ahead.

The second half started with a bit of handbags at dawn between Inu and Lunt but from that the visitors then made the first attacking opportunity before Inu was denied by Welham after a high bomb.

An attack at the other end by Rovers was similarly unfortunate as Liam Salter caught a hick kick but was held down just short of the line.

Catalans were appearing more purposeful as the game wore on and Zeb Taia took advantage of a quick tap penalty for off-side to crash over in the 50th minute, a first conversion of the evening for Dureau reduced the gap to 16 points and give them some form of hope.

The next visit to the home sides line saw an audacious kick through by Tony Gigot and Inu followed it up to score in the corner in the 55th minute, Dureau missed the conversion but at 26-14 the Dragons seemed to be sensing a comeback which at half-time had looked like an impossibility against the in-form Robins.

The 50-50 calls that had gone the way of the men from East Yorkshire in the first half now seemed to be going more in favour of the Frenchmen.

Ken Sio finally added to his try tally as Rovers took the bull by the horns and a fast passing move saw him dive in at the corner in the 65th minute, the missed conversion left the score at 30-14.

However Catalans still wouldn’t go away and they charged straight to the other end and video referees Steve Ganson and Joe Cobb awarded a try to Ian Henderson in the 67th minute, the goal by Dureau reduced the deficit to 10 points again and a nervous tension descended on the ground again.

A measure of the concern for the home side became apparent with 10 minutes left when, after a crusher tackle on Dixon 10 meters from the Catalans line, Mantellato opted to take the two points on offer to give them a two converted try lead.

Catalans immediately went for a short kick-off and won the ball within Rovers territory which led to sustained pressure. Back-to-back penalties increased the pressure but Rovers stuck manfully to the task in hand to keep them at bay and a knock-on relieved the pressure and enabled them to clear their lines.

Another Catalans attack then produced another try as a kick through by Jason Baitieri was pounced on by Elliott Whitehead in the 78th minute and the conversion by Dureau put them back within one score of the hosts.

Rovers however saw the game out to move on to their first Challenge Cup semi-final since 2006 and within sight of a first trip to Wembley in nearly three decades.

Penalties- Hull KR 6 Catalans Dragons 9

Goal Line Drop Outs- Hull KR 1 Catalans Dragons 2

Attendance: 6,073

Widnes Vikings 12 Hull FC 25, Lineham Hat-Trick Sees Off Vikings Again As Airlie Birds Move Into Top 8.

Hull FC took their destiny into their own hands with a stunning comeback to complete a league double over Widnes Vikings as they claimed an eighth victory in 10 games in all competitions and move 7th in the Super League table.

Down 12-0 inside 11 minutes Hull looked dis-organised until Marc Sneyd stamped his class on the match and took control of proceedings and prolific winger Tom Lineham ran in his second hat-trick against this opposition this year.

The Vikings started the game without former Hull player Cameron Phelps after the Australian was injured in their victory over Salford Red Devils at Magic Weekend in Newcastle which forced coach Denis Betts to bring Matt Whitley in at centre.

Coach Lee Radford recalled Jamie Shaul to the Hull FC side to rest Jordan Rankin and Setaimata Sa and derby hat-trick hero Fetuli Talanoa were out injured so Richard Whiting and Steve Michaels were brought in as replacements for the visit to the Select Security stadium

The match was billed as a Super 8s Play Off with the Vikings just one point ahead of Hull as the sides sat 8th and 9th respectively at the start of the evening.

The first penalty of the match saw the home side put the first pressure on the Hull line but Shaul cleared up the threat of a chip over the line before Hull were awarded a relieving penalty.

The opening score of the match came to Vikings winger Jack Owens after Kirk Yeaman gave away a penalty with a high tackle the ball was moved quickly right by the home side and Owens squeezed in at the corner despite the attention of Shaul, the winger then added the touchline conversion to give them a 6-0 lead in the 8th minute.

Three minutes later a break down their left by full-back Rhys Hanbury put centre Matt Whitley in under the posts and Owens added the extras to give the home side a 12 point lead after 11 minutes.

After another attack from the home side Hull suddenly burst into life and a break down the right by captain Gareth Ellis and short pass put Tom Lineham in at the corner for his 13th try of the season and his fourth against Widnes after his hat-trick against them at the KC Stadium, unfortunately Marc Sneyd slipped slightly as he took the kick at goal and missed to leave the score 12-4 to the home side after 16 minutes.

Just as Hull thought they were going to make a break with a pass from Leon Pryce to Shaul referee Phil Bentham made a shocking call saying the legal pass was forward and then awarded the home side a penalty in the Hull half for dissent but scrambling defence from the visitors kept the Vikings at bay as they looked to press home the advantage they had been handed.

As the first half wore on the home side seemed to have more appetite for the battle as Hull looked laboured and unable to break through the home defence but despite their continued dominance in the possession and territory stakes the Vikings lead was still only eight points after half an hour.

After a penalty was given to the men from East Yorkshire they got their first chance at some sustained pressure on the Vikings line and Pryce duly brought them further back into the game with their second try, however Sneyd had forgotten his kicking boots and missed again to leave the score 12-8.

The fightback continued after a high tackle by Vikings captain Kevin Brown on Richard Whiting gave Hull another attacking set on the Widnes line and a deft chip by Sneyd saw Lineham claim his second try of the game in the corner with seconds to go to half time, Sneyd then found the mark with his touchline conversion to send his team in at the break with an unlikely 12-14 lead.

The second half started with Hull showing more grunt and trying to establish control and they were soon on the attack but Mickey Paea knocked on 15 meters from the Widnes try line.

The Vikings then went down-field and a kick from former FC player Aaron Heremaia forced a second goal-line-drop-out but their resulting attack ended with a tackle by Steve Michaels taking the Widnes attacker into touch.

After 51 minutes a piece of individual brilliance from Sneyd created a try that was worth the entrance money alone as he placed a delicate little grubber kick through the defensive line and followed-up to score under the posts and stretch the visitors advantage and the inevitable conversion from the try-scorer made it 12-20.

Six minutes later Lineham made it home and away hat-tricks against the Vikings as a break from Shaul cut the home side apart again and then his deft pass put the winger in at the corner to the delight of the travelling supporters, unfortunately Sneyd was unable to add the extras so the lead stayed at 12 points for the visitors.

The next attack from Hull saw them set up for the drop-goal and Sneyd again duly obliged to give them a three score lead with 18 minutes left to play.

The home side were showing plenty of endeavour but the goal line defence from Hull was too tight and smart to stop them breaching the line.

Whenever the home side seemed to have an opportunity Hull’s resolute defence was there from all angles covering for any chink in the impressive armour as the game ambled towards its inevitable conclusion.

With seven seconds remaining on the clock Patrick Ah Van thought he had given the home fans something to cheer as he dived in at the corner but he was denied by the video referee as he had put a foot in touch.

Hull coach Lee Radford praised the impressive defence from his side afterwards saying the victory had come because they were all willing to work for each other.

Penalties: Widnes 6 Hull FC 4

Goal Line Drop Outs: Widnes 1 Hull FC 2

Attendance: 5,573

Man of the Match: Marc Sneyd

Wigan Warriors 60 Hull KR 0. Injury Stricken Robins Made To Suffer By Rampant Warriors.

Hull KR took to the pitch minus Josh Mantellato, Dane Tilse, Shaun Lunt and captain Terry Campese then, at the last minute Kevin Larroyer had to be withdrawn following an injury in the warm up so Rovers coach Chris Chester brought in youngsters Connor Robinson and Josh Guzdek to put with fellow teenagers Sonny Esslemont and Aaron Ollett and Tyrone McCarthy took the captains armband.

The first try took less than 3 minutes to arrive as Wigan ran the ball on the last tackle and prop Dominic Crosby charged over from 20 meters out, the conversion from Matty Smith gave the home side a 6-0 lead.

The tone was being set very early as, from the kick off, after a few tackles the Warriors shifted the ball from right to left and a move involving Dan Sarginson, Joe Burgess and George Williams from 70 meters out led to a 6th minute try for Burgess under the posts, Smith tagged on the goal for a 12-0 lead.

A penalty caused by the Robins kick off going out on the full led to more pressure on their line and Wigan stretched their advantage as Liam Farrell swept through a non-existent defence for the 3rd try in 8 minutes and Smith again made no mistake to make it 18-0.

Less than 11 minutes had passed as another break down the middle by Farrell teed up a 12th try of the season for Joe Burgess, a fourth goal for Smith made it 24-0 and the match was effectively over as a contest.

Rovers right hand defence was having a genuine nightmare but the middle was also being made to suffer as the home side were finding big yards far too easy to come by even considering the personnel the men from East Yorkshire had missing.

The 15th minute saw another flowing passing move from the Warriors which finished with Joel Tomkins, playing at Centre for the first time since his sides defeat away to Rovers, charging in at the corner to score, Smith missed the conversion from wide out but the Warriors looked very comfortable at 28-0 ahead.

Three minutes later Burgess thought he had his second consecutive hat-trick but he was pulled back for a forward pass by Sarginson.

A goal line drop out was forced as Ben Cockayne was caught behind the line after a precise grubber kick by Williams and this again invited pressure on the visitors line which led to Williams then throwing an absolutely outrageous dummy which was taken hook, line and sinker and left a gap wide enough for a sherman tank for the stand off to dart through and dive in for the 6th try in 21 minutes, the goal from Smith stretched the lead to 34 points.

There was a brief period when Rovers strung a few passes together but at no point did they threaten the home sides line. However Wigan seemed to drop their intensity visibly and at the same time the Robins rolled up the sleeves and seemed determined to shackle the Warriors and this they did with the help of a few uncharacteristic mistakes like forward passes and dropped ball.

Despite not scoring for the last 19 minutes of the first half and some silly mistakes the home side still went in at the break with the game wrapped up at 34-0.

An early penalty in the second half for offside brought more pressure and the first try of the half was awarded by the video referee after a kick from Williams was snaffled by Burgess before offloading to Farrell who, in turn, flicked the ball out to Sarginson to score in the corner, Smith’s touchline conversion saw the cherry and white’s hit 40.

More mistakes cost a fatigued Rovers more and more possession and territory and a poor attitude certainly wasn’t helping them with Wigan in such ruthless mood.

The 52nd minute saw the video referee called upon again by referee Phil Bentham to award another try to Dominic Manfredi who forced his way over from close quarters despite the attentions of five would-be defenders, the missed conversion from Smith left the score at 44-0.

Thankfully for the visitors the Warriors kept trying the party tricks but whilst some of them came off, plenty of others ended with forward passes and dropped ball along with other needless mistakes otherwise the score could have been much worse.

Five minutes after the Manfredi effort former Wakefield man Taulima Tautai charged onto a pass to barrel his way over next to the posts, Smith’s goal brought up the half century.

Another try duly arrived in the 62nd minute as Williams fooled everybody on the last tackle with a sudden burst of pace from 40 meters out to race through a huge gap and score beside the posts, another conversion from Smith made it 56-0.

On the one occasion the Robins managed to break their hosts defensive line a forward pass from James Donaldson saw Green pulled back and a certain try ruled out. Rovers fans were seen doing a conga around their stand, unfortunately it couldn’t inspire their team to get the try their fans so desperately deserved.

The deadly duo struck again with less than three minutes left to play as George Williams once again produced a delightful little chip over the defence and Joe Burgess profited to grab his hat-trick try, Smith missed the conversion to leave the final score at 60-0.

The obvious concern for the Robins going forward is that in their last three games (league and cup) they have now shipped in 122 points, they will obviously be a different proposition in two weeks in the Challenge Cup match which is taking place on neutral territory at Leigh Sports Village whilst the pitch is relaid at the DW Stadium.

Post match Shaun Wane said he was under no illusions that they would be a different proposition in the cup match, on the other hand it was noted about Chris Chester’s almost casual attitude to what had just happened as he also knows his team should be very much stronger for that cup match, and indeed should carry much more threat at home against basement side Wakefield Trinity Wildcats next week.

Attendance 11,468

Rovers man of the match: Graeme Horne

Protestors Vent Anger at Council and Government

Protestors from Unite, GMB and both East Yorkshire and Hull against Flouridisation have been protesting on the steps of the guildhall today while a budget meeting was taking place inside.

Patrick Holdsworth of East Yorkshire against Flouride said: “It’s a massive waste of money,

“It will cost £400,000 to set up and then £100,000 a year to maintain,

He continued “They’re targeting 5 to 7 year olds saying that it strengthens tooth enamel but there is no proof of the benefits they say it brings,”

He wants them to take the money it costs and use it to educate both children and adults about dental health instead.

Unite Convenor Pete Schofield said they, and the GMB, were campaigning against austerity cuts that have been forced on the council by a £150M cut in funding from central government.

“We’re protesting because it’s about time the Labour council grew a backbone and made a stand against the Tory government,

“Over the last five years there’s been 2,000 jobs lost and the council have had to start charging for things that were free before like day services, transport and meals at day centres,

He continued “The government have targeted Labour councils and looked after their own like Chelsea council has had a rise in funding while Hull has had a massive cut,

He also went on to say it wasn’t specifically aimed at the government but also the council saying “The chief executive shouldn’t get paid £170,000 it’s far too much,

“Two councilors Jill Kennet and Dean Kirk have actually now set up their own party for the people of Hull,

“It’s about time the council said no to anymore cuts,”

The council now charge £65 a session for day services, £5 each way for transport and about £2.50 for a meal at a day centre as a result of the cutbacks.