Written by Rugby Football League
England Students proved too strong for a valiant UK Armed Forces side in the deciding encounter in this year’s Presidents Cup.
The six-try win for the young England side saw them lift the trophy for the first time, capping off a great few weeks for coaches Connor Meese and Ellis Pascall.
From the second minute when the dangerous Chloe Billington rounded her opposite centre and dashed 60 metres for the opening try, the Students looked too strong for their Armed Forces counterparts. Halfback Becky Grady slotted the first of five goals and they led 6-0.
The Armed Forces did have their moments, winning the ball back from the first two kicks from halfway but as became a regular occurence, they couldn’t build pressure with Ellie Raines, Jenna Greening and Emily Carlisle well watched by the England defence. Despite this, Molly Kedraika, Kaiya Glynn, Alex Barnes and skipper Alice Fisher all had their moments, but they were soon gathered behind their own posts after Student skipper Megan Bragg proved unstoppable from close range and Grady’s boot made it 12-0 after 15 minutes.
Eleven minutes later Oulton Raidette debutant Caitlin Casey crafted a try with a glorious inside ball for Pippa Curley to bravely dive through and although the play was stopped for an injury to players from both sides, when it got underway again, the Students rounded off the half when Billington zipped over for her second try a play after Caitlin Casey split the defence. Grady goaled and it was 24-0 at half-time.
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Two minutes into the new half Bragg moved inside the twenty-metre zone dangerously and a perfectly weighted offload found Emily Baggaley who held off three would-be tacklers to score and Grady’s boot upped the score to 30-0. The Armed Forces responded in a spirited fashion, restricting the students to just one more score, but when that came it was a corker! After a quiet first half by her standards, Amelia Brown burst into the game, and down her wing, showing good speed to outpace Kaiya Glynn to the line over seventy metres. This time Grady couldn’t goal but the match-winning lead had been established and although both teams shared errors, the Armed Forces claimed deserved consolation at the end when Glynn angled back on the inside brilliantly to finish from twenty metres and Barnes nudged over the goal to bring up the final score.
Best for England Students were Bragg and Baggaley while there was also some good control shown by halfbacks Casey and Grady but special mention must also be made of centre Kaitlin Hilton who was everywhere in the first hour, running and tackling with great vigour to help her side finish as President’s Cup Winners.
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