After a long week of build up ahead of the highly anticipated cup final. It was finally time to see who would be regional champions as Stafford U16’s Roses host Penrith U16’s in the Regional Cup Final.
Stafford had the ideal start as they were able to retain possession and help calm the nerves of the players as they each got a chance with the ball and won an early penalty in the first play of the match.
Only four minutes in, Della reads the pass from the Penrith player and makes a fantastic interception and runs it over the try line to give Stafford an early lead. The girls couldn’t have asked for a much better start!
Not long after the Stafford try, Penrith have a period of play on the border of Stafford’s ‘22 but they end up knocking the ball.
It was a fantastic first 15 minutes from the Roses as they dominated possession and held onto their lead.
Just under half an hour in, Penrith had worked themselves into the game and were applying pressure into Stafford. A wonderful cross kick from Penrith and an unlucky bounce for Stafford see’s Penrith go level, they went on to convert the try and take the lead of the match.
After going behind, the momentum of the match swung into Stafford’s favour. A fantastic bit of phase play led to Millie scoring a try after a powerful run to give Stafford the lead again.
On the verge of half time, Penrith were having multiple phases inside Stafford’s 5 metre line. The girls defended fantastically for multiple phases and then held up the ball as Penrith attempted to score
It had been a very tight first half but the referee blew the whistle for half time and the girls went in three points to the good in a game that could go either way.
A great kick off from Della puts Penrith inside their own 5 metre line under lots of pressure which lead to them losing the ball and Stafford gaining it in a very dangerous position. Unfortunately the girls couldn’t score here as some very good counter-rucking won Penrith the ball back.
After a Penrith kick, Stafford end up carrying it back over their own try line and give a 5 metre scrum to the opposition. Penrith played a lot of phases inside Stafford’s 22 but a fantastic bit of defence from Stafford see’s them win a scrum, Stafford dominate the scrum and Niamh clears the ball away to relieve the pressure.
Niamh kicked the ball up the pitch brilliantly and led to handling error from a Penrith player which Evie capitalised on immediately and Stafford broke away, another good bit of defence from Penrith as they manage to turn the ball over.
A high tackle sees Stafford receive a yellow card, it was vital that the girls stuck together and worked hard to hold on to their lead.
A fantastic run from a Penrith player saw them break through the Stafford defence and go on to score a try under the posts. A brilliant effort to chase back from Poppy who couldn’t quite catch her. Penrith went on to convert the try and lead 10-14.
Not long after Stafford are back to a full team on the pitch, Penrith then go a player down because of a yellow card due to a high tackle.
After some fantastic attacking play from Stafford they managed to win a scrum on Penrith’s 5 metre line in a massive chance to regain the lead. Stafford almost scored but it was held up and Penrith had a goal-line drop out.
A poor drop out landed at the feet of Stafford inside Penrith’s 22 but unfortunately the ball was thrown into touch. However, the ball isn’t thrown in straight and Stafford win a penalty! Eve takes it quickly and a powerful run puts Stafford once again inside Penrith’s 5 metre line. Stafford were looking so likely to score as the Penrith defence was crumbling and conceded another two penalties. The girls were giving it absolutely everything to try and win this cup.
Moments later, the girls notice that they have a massive overlap and get the ball out wide. Multiple fast passes found Bea on the wing who ran it over the tryline to surely win Stafford the game! Stafford finally capitalise on all the chances they’ve had and you can see how much it means to them!
The referee blows the final whistle immediately and that was the last play of the match, Bea is the hero with the last minute try! Stafford score to win the cup in the last game. Players and parents all cheering in what will be a game that they all will remember for the rest of their lives! Despite it being a nervy performance at times, Stafford are the U16’s Women’s Regional Champions!
Forward of the day- Jess
Back of the day- Evie
Dame of the day- Bea
Match report by Ben Baker