Girls - Castleford U18 v WPL U18
Kites Swoop to Win the Yorkshire Cup
With the sun setting over Pontefract, the Kites unruffled feathers faced Castleford under 18s in the Yorkshire Cup final on Wednesday, 18th April, having both teams grace supporters with a close thrilling game in the Area 6 National Final at Ripon, the much-anticipated reunion did not disappoint.
Straight from the kick off the Kites were determined to follow their game plan, trying to manipulate Castleford’s defence to open gaps to penetrate. Both teams were resilient and the kites worked hard to draw in Castleford’s defence with some great carries from both forwards and the backs, they managed to progress up the field and camp in the opposition’s 22. The Kites opened the score sheet in the first eight minutes after they were quick to respond in receiving a number of penalties just off the try line, with a barrage of pick and goes the Kites, Matilda King drove over the line to take the lead and Morwenna Talling converted with a tricky kick to increase the lead to seven points.
Struggling to cope with the Kites’ confident attacking, Castleford found themselves once again in their own 22 defending against an early dominating side. Relieved by a knock on, Castleford finally had hold of the ball to start their campaign to go forward. As the Kites defence maintained solidarity in the middle of the field, Castleford were forced to utilise the space on the wings but were faced with steely determination by the Kites full back not to let anything past. Soaking up wave after wave from the opposition, the Kites continued to press Castleford away from their try line. It was only a lack of discipline in the later stages of the first half that saw Castleford get their first points with a penalty try.
Being a player short from the kick off, the Kites responded quickly, turning over possession and moving the defence from wing to wing with some great handling from the centres and some hard-hitting carries from the pack. After a breaking run from the number eight, the Kites continued to increase the pressure on a well drilled defence, but space opened up on the blind side of the breakdown, allowing stand-off Cara Cookland to barge her way over the line only to be held up by three defenders. Continuing to maintain possession, the Kites were finding it difficult to penetrate the solid defence until a brilliant show and go from inside centre opened enough of a space for her to race through to score the Kites’ second try on the last play of the first half.
Starting the second half with a 14-7 lead, the Kites didn’t take their foot off the gas and continued to play at the same attacking pace they finished on in the first half. With some great handling from the team and some blistering runs from the wingers, Castleford once again found themselves defending in their own 22. With some quick pick and goes from a dominating pack, a captains run once again found space on the blindside and this time was not denied the try she thoroughly deserved, smashing through the defensive line to dive over the line.
Such as a defiant side that Castleford are, they started to stretch a weary Kites side, utilising some good possession with some quick hands, creating overlaps with looping centres and started to manage to make some ground down each side of the pitch. With discipline once again creeping in to punish the Kites, Castleford managed to quickly move the ball away from a breakdown to race into the corner only to be held up over the line. With confidence growing Castleford were beginning to look like the dominant side, as the Kites frustrations started to show, the opposition continued to harass the Kites defence and were finally rewarded with a try to close the gap to 7 points.
With less than 10 minutes to play the Kites were not willing to give in, following some inspirational words from under the sticks they dug deep and once again stepped up a level to pin Castleford in their own half. As the final whistle drew closer, the Kites mounted pressure on the opposition which after managing to turn a ball over and consecutive drives by the forwards, the backs moved the ball down the line for Bea Ellinson to seal the victory in the dying minutes with a try in the corner.
The game was played in great spirit and we would like to thank Pontefract for once again being fantastic hosts and Castleford for giving us a really competitive match.
Girl of the Game – Olivia Grace
Forward of the Game – Marion Ridgway
Back of the Game – Cara Cookland
Carry of the Game – Olivia Grace
Crunch of the Game – Maisie Burton