Newsome Panthers’ newly-formed Women’s Open Age team performed beyond all expectations when they held established League 1 side Rochdale Hornets to a 32-32 draw in their first-ever match.
With plenty of nerves in the changing room beforehand the atmosphere was electric. Panthers’ captain Carly Yeaman said: “There was lots of excited energy and the girls really couldn’t wait to get out there and show everybody what we could do.
“The atmosphere after the game was amazing. You would never have known that our team had eight girls who had never played a game of rugby league before!”
Head coach Craig Gleadall took over in the summer and the team has attracted a number of more experienced players from the winter leagues.
He said: “The girls have gone from strength to strength in confidence. It is nice to have experience out there too just to calm things down. But we also have some exciting players who can react to what is happening in front of them. We have high expectations and we match that with our commitment as a group.”
Team manager Becky Roberts also took the field as well as being a massive part of developing the Girls & Women’s Section at Hall Bower.
Becky said: “I couldn’t be more proud of what the team have achieved. When we started out, we were just seeing how numbers went and wanted to create an enjoyable environment for women to experience rugby league.
“Fast forward eight months and we have come on so much. With over 25 women in the team and half of them never playing rugby before, it is amazing to get the first game under our belts.”
During the game the team worked well together and really took everything learned in training onto the field. Cyenna Ruby showed some serious mental toughness and produced lots of positive moments throughout the game. There was a great debut performance from Megan Hey, scoring her first try.
Becky said after the game: “The support from the crowd was incredible, they really got behind the team and spurred us on. This is something we would love to recreate at all our future home games.”
Newsome Panthers ARLFC Women’s next game is at Featherstone Lionesses on March 26.
To follow their progress and that of all the Girls & Women’s Section search for Newsome Panthers GT on Facebook or go to the website HERE.
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