The girls and women’s section has shown the way at Mason Green since it started with a single team, established by Stephen Stead and Shaun Keoghan in 2016.
The club now boasts six teams with 100 players on the books and making the headlines are the open age women’s team, who completed an undefeated winter season with a comprehensive 42-6 victory at Liverpool University.
Promotion propels them into Women’s League 1 where they will take on some of the biggest names in rugby league including Halifax, Keighley and Rochdale Hornets.
A club statement said: “To be playing two levels down from the Women’s Super League is a great achievement by a relatively modest community club with very limited financial resources.
“Despite being an open age team, the oldest player will be 19, and the average age is below 18-years-old.
“Several of the players have already attracted the attention of Women’s Super League teams and are on the England Pathway scheme.
“The younger girls teams are shaping up to provide a steady stream of talent coming through. It may sound like the wildest of wild ideas, but a Women’s Grand Final of St Helens versus Illingworth may be only three or four years away.”
Illingworth’s win over Liverpool University was once again based on a rock solid defence, which has conceded double figures only once this season.
Niamh Creswell’s try on two minutes showed what was to come and Angel Bentley added a second before Creswell bagged her second. Beth Armstrong crossed the whitewash and although the hosts got off the mark with a try, Suma Hunter scored to put the visitors 22-6 up at the break.
Illingworth turned on the style in the second half and wrapped-up the win with tries from Gabbie Cochrane-Kaney, Hunter, debutant Kaitlin Williams and Emily Mawdsley.