Saturday (27 August) is Grand Final day in the Betfred Women’s Super League South, with defending champions Cardiff Demons taking on London Broncos at Pandy Park in Gwent, South Wales.
The Broncos are unbeaten in 2022 and despatched Bedford Tigers in the semi-final at the Cherry Red Records Stadium in Plough Lane to reach their first final. Rosie Cairns, Sophie Messem, Lauren Mueller, Iona McCusker, Kirsty-Lee Griffiths, Emily Hughes, Abi Gordon, Jess Ingram and Sophie Tauchert all scored tries in a convincing 44-6 win.
Cardiff Demons have suffered just one loss in 2022, and finished the regular season with the best points for and against records. They booked their final spot with a hard-earned 30-16 semi-final win over the Army, thanks to tries from Molly Reardon, Brittony Price, Charlie Mundy, Eleri Michael and Bryonie King.
London Broncos versus Cardiff Demons will be shown live on Our League from 3pm – and everything points to another close encounter between the best sides in the Betfred Women’s Super League South. The Demons’ solitary defeat came at the hands of the Broncos, when Jess Ingram darted over from dummy half on the very last play of the game to give her side a stunning 20-18 win.
“It couldn’t have been any tighter”, admits London Broncos head coach, Colin Baker, a long-time servant at the capital club. “Cardiff hadn’t lost in two years seasons prior to that, so having beaten them gives us plenty of confidence and self-belief. But we’re under no illusions – they set the benchmark in Super League South and are going to be very tough to beat. Two good teams going head-to-head makes for a fantastic event.
“We’ve come a long way since I ran an open trial event prior to launching our side in 2021. Many of the players who came to that trial still make up the nucleus of our squad and the new players we’ve brought in have added something extra. We’ve really kicked on this year. Now, we’re pretty strong across the park and our skipper Courtney Treco is a leader on and off the pitch – players respond to the example she sets.”
“It was a tight game last time we met the Broncos”, reflects Cardiff Demons head coach, Ian Newbury. “They are going to bring that same determination – especially as they are looking to go unbeaten this season.
“We’ve focused this season on our defence and it’s certainly showed on the field. We had a tough semi-final against a strong Army squad and since then we have been putting in the hard yards over the last two weeks. The players have an extra focus on this one.”
Both teams will be determined to receive the accolade of the being the top team in the Women’s Super League South (BWSLS). That mantle will become increasingly important as Women’s Rugby League heads towards 2024 and the prospect of a full, national pyramid structure – with the opportunity for the South Grand Final winner to reach the national Betfred Women’s Super League final via the play-offs.
“Saturday’s final gives another great opportunity to showcase the talent in the Women’s Super League South”, says RFL Director of Participation and Development. One of the key objectives in setting up the BWSLS was to open up another talent pool for Women’s and Girls’ Rugby League. We have already seen Caroline Collie of Bedford Tigers make the step up into the England squad and I’m sure there will be others, including some of today’s Broncos squad, who are on radar of the England coaches. The Demons also provide the backbone of the Welsh national side who are currently ranked seventh in the world and have competed impressively against England in the last two summers.
“It will be entirely possible from 2024 for the likes of Cardiff Demons or London Broncos to be playing St Helens, Leeds Rhinos or York City Knights on a regular basis as fellow members of the BWSL. Such an opportunity should help clubs in the South attract and retain some of the best talent, given the opportunity to test themselves against the best players around in an elite competition with the profile of the BWSL.”
Pandy Park is the home of Cross Keys RFC, and is just a short walk away from Cross Keys train and bus stations. For spectators travelling by car, the postcode is NP11 7BS.