Halifax Ladies 64 Hull Ladies 8
NEWLY-FORMED Halifax made the perfect start with a comprehensive victory on a cold Sunday at Ovenden Park.
They looked an instant danger with crunching tackles and barnstorming runs and the first five minutes produced two tries.
The first came when Megan Routledge took clean lineout ball off the top to scrum half Sarah Shilito and fly half Laura Ackroyd sent Stacey Wood in at the corner.
Ackroyd was just wide with the conversion attempt but made it 12-0 when speedster Doris King picked up the ball in her own half and showed great strength and speed to go in for a try in the corner.
With hooker Hailey Dennis and lock Rebbeca Hemmingway playing their first ever game of rugby game, very little was expected of Halifax scrum. However, they drove Hull off the ball at the first of them and Shilito combined well with prop Steph Geldard scored the third try.
Hull came back with some powerful running, King making a crunching tackle out wide and the Clegg sisters, Amanda and Leanne, putting in big hits in the middle of the field to subdue the attacks.
Just after the 20 minute mark centre Samia Hussain showed her pace and power to score under the sticks, Ackroyd converting to make the score 26-0.
The forwards did exactly what coach Brett Swiffen asked of them and secured good possession at the rucks and mauls.
This enabled the backs to run and a move after threequarters of the length of the field was finished off in style by Stacey Wood with Ackroyd against adding the two points.
Halifax's forwards, led by captain Lucy Jones, continued to dominate forward play and won a number of scrums against the head to the dismay of Hull, who continued to put up a good fight with little reward.
Routledge and Fiona Patterson were all over the park, dominating the rucks, which enabled powerful Amanda Clegg to go in for her first try, converted by Ackroyd, just before the break.
Halifax kept up the good work after half time, good play by Dennis producing quick ball for centre Hussain to score in the corner.
Jones powered through the Hull defence from a penalty and powerhouse Amanda Clegg made a half-break and produced a beautiful pass for Wood to score under the posts. The kick made it 52-0.
Hull came back strongly with an unconverfted try but Halifax added to their tally when Leonna Kitson made a good tackle in open play and turnover ball enabled King to run 50 yards for her second try.
Halifax regained position from the kick off and the ball travelled through several sets of hands before Ackroyd touched down and added the goal.
The final points went to the visitors from a penalty in front of the sticks.
On a day of uncertainty for Halifax it was a dream result and Swiffen was impressed with the determination and team spirit shown.