Youth Rugby: Eton Manor girls enjoy big tournament and show off talent throughout
PUBLISHED: 13:00 23 March 2017
New Wilderness club played host to teams from all over the South East in fantastic festival for all involved
Eton Manor RFC hosted their first ever Girls’ Rugby Tournament on Sunday, welcoming clubs from all over the South East for what is set to become an annual event in the girls’ rugby calendar.
Teams from Sudbury/Colchester, Rochford/Thurrock, Stanford-le-Hope, Robert Clack School, Aylesford, Maldon and Barking competed in full contact rugby in two age bands – under-13 and under-15 - with most of the squad from Hackney.
Manor’s U13s girls won both of their matches, opening their account against a spirited Aylesford team.
The girls dominated possession allowing Maddison Dodd to freely score while Ellie Cunningham, Christina Campbell and Noleen McMahon were also on the score-sheet for a confidence-boosting early win by 11 tries to two.
The second game saw Manor break down a strong combined Barking and Stanford team, overcoming them by five tries to one.
Chances were fewer and there was less space available for the Manor backs, but they eventually over-powered the strong defence with tries from Saoirse Hannant-Clune, McMahon, player-of-the-festival Dodd and Nansai Mooney.
Cunningham demonstrated great sporting spirtit, passing to Orla Hannant-Clune to score after she supported her clean break.
U13s captain McMahon said: “We really enjoyed having the festival here at the club – hopefully next year we can have more teams here to play.
“I was really impressed with the girls – it was great to see that tries were being scored from all over the pitch.
“It was also great to see some debuts from girls coming through from the other age grades here.”
Manor’s U15s played their best rugby all season, defeating Maldon (32-12) and Stanford Le Hope (38-0) with notable tries from Nikiyah Talbot and new girl Ella Hoye, and superb kicking from second row forward Sophie Watkinson .
But the hardest fought game in the group saw Manor suffer a narrow 15-7 defeat by Robert Clack School, with an outstanding team try eventually punched over the line by prop Simbi Sikiru.
The game saw some sensational running from twins Amy and Maddie Fitch, and excellent defensive work from the forwards and full back Katie Lonergan who didn’t miss a tackle.
Robert Clack went on to beat a strong Rochford/Thurrock side 36-12 in a fiercely contested final.
In a thrilling third-place play off, Manor secured an historic 29-7 win over rivals and friends Sudbury/Colchester, with notable tries from Evelyn Weeden and captain Scarlett Bowden.
The front row were a powerhouse in the mauls and scrums and the future of women’s rugby looks very bright at the New Wilderness.
Manor team manager Jackie Clune said: “The women’s Rugby World Cup takes place in Ireland this year so we wanted to celebrate by holding a festival around St Patrick’s Day.
“We are a strong club committed to growing the girls’ game and any girl who would like to give it a go are warmly invited to come and try us out - we train Tuesdays at 6.30pm and Sundays at 10.45am.
“It’s amazing to see how the girls grow in confidence in a sport which celebrates and exploits physical diversity, strength, speed, team work and quick thinking.”