It was a beautiful sunny day for rugby when the Rhinos hosted Kilburn Cosmos at White Hart Lane for the final game of the season, not just for both teams but also the league, that proved to be a tense and hard fought contest by both sides.
Kilburn kicked off into the wind and the Rhinos struggled in their own 22 for almost the entirety of the first half. A strong Kilburn side pushed for the line for 35 minutes but the dogged and disciplined defending of the Rhinos denied the Cosmos a try. In particular, some strong defensive work by Andrea Coley by way of a number of try saving tackles from Kilburn breakaways kept the score 0-0 at half time.
The Rhinos kicked off the second half determined to make a mark and play offensively. Kate Glynn kicked off and the Rhinos surged up the pitch. Some quick thinking from Aimee Foulkes, following a penalty, gave the Rhinos their first and very well deserved try. The Rhinos, able to use the windy conditions to their advantage in this half, kicked their way out of their own 22 and onto another try from Kate Glynn. Kilburn came back strong, however, and were able to break through the Rhinos defence to score their first try, making it 10-7 and still anyone's game. A number of injuries and cards in the second half resulted in both depleted Kilburn and Rhino teams. The Rhinos, however, were determined to give Rachel ‘Grandma’ Lum Wai a win for her final ever rugby union game as well as a final, and well deserved, try of the season. Great teamwork and rugby by the Rhinos led to four final tries for the Rhinos from the speedy Patricia Mbata, scoring her first and second try in the same game, another first try for Rhinos newcomer Aine McMahon debuting as scrum-half, and a final try from full back Lily Barca - final score 39-7.
This season has been a tumultuous one with a back-to-basics overhaul and restructure, players leaving and injuries galore but we have come out of it stronger, more structured, with a bigger team than we've ever had before who love the game and how we play it. Thank-you to Coaches Gary McCormick and James Ballard and everyone's passion and dedication throughout the season, and we will look to start next season as strong as we finished yesterday and with smiles on our faces.
Updated 17:07 - 10 Jul 2017 by Helen Rayfield