2021 Betfred Women's Super League South Final
British Army RL
29 August 2021 • KO 12:00
26 v 30
Trailfinders Sports Club, West Ealing
Referee : Stuart Fraser
Cardiff Demons made history as the first ever Betfred Women’s Super League South champions, only leading for the final 10 seconds of the game.
The TV clock was showing 54 seconds over, but the actual match clock read 79:50 when Cardiff skipper Ffion Lewis ran over for the winning try.
It was just reward for all the hard work that the Cardiff Demons side, led by head coach Ian Newbury, have put in all season. Not just a Wales international side in name only, the Demons have recruited newly developed players from the Welsh community clubs, many of whom have made a name for themselves. Only 50 per cent of that Cardiff side were Wales internationals.
The game started at a ferocious pace with attacks from both sides and some tough early tackles, especially a cruncher from Cardiff’s Charlie Mundy on Ellie Raines, just to let her know that she was in a game.
But it was the Army who scored first, Kiaya Glynn grounding in the corner after a good passing move, and the Demons were behind for the first time in their short lifespan. Glynn couldn’t convert and the Army had a 4-0 lead on six minutes.
They nearly went two tries up with Katie Price going close after some more good work from Glynn, but Cardiff were equal to the challenge, with a try saving challenge from Leanna Maybank and Lowri Norkett on the last tackle of a set.
Army were given another unexpected chance to score after a Demons penalty criminally didn’t go to touch – again Cardiff’s defence held solid from the resulting Army set.
It was a full ten minutes before Cardiff were given any ball-time, which is something they’ve not been used to. Bryonie King and Lowri Norkett were making some trouble, but Army regained possession just a few metres into their own half.
Army didn’t waste their next chance. Demons gave away a penalty ten metres from their line. Sarah Mitchelson set the position by bashing her way through the Demons backline and Emily White touched down brilliantly when under pressure. Glynn converted to make it 10-0 on 16 minutes.
They were defending well too. A Ffion Lewis’ long kick put them under pressure, but the ball was picked up well by Wales international Jess McAuley when any error would have probably given her fellow countrywomen a try.
And just before the first major break in play, Elyehia Watson was forced into a double movement by King and Ffion Jones as the Army centre tried to get the ball over the whitewash. However King’s efforts gave her an injury and the delay was to treat and eventually substitute her.
Wales rugby union international Bethan Dainton, playing for the Army, nearly got a third try for her side, but she was stopped in her tracks. Demons broke away and finally got on the sheet with a fantastic try on 26 minutes. Eleri Michael started and finished the move. Leanne Burnell made the metres after receiving the ball from Michael with an excellent slip pass, Ffion Lewis kicked well after receiving from Burnell and Michael picked up the ball to score. Lewis converted.
The Army struck back six minutes later with another excellent try with Glynn getting her second as she ran diagonally through the Cardiff line to touch down under the sticks. McAuley converted.
Cardiff were next to score, which was a big boost to them. Sara Prosser forced her way through before Molly Reardon went over from dummy half. Lewis converted to put them just four points down at the break.
The second half again started at a fast pace and only errors in the first six minutes prevented scores at both ends. The Army were closest - Grace Standbridge’s pass to Price, who touched down, was forward.
Cardiff levelled on 48 minutes. Lewis chipped the ball over the Army defence and Seren Gough-Walters picked it up well to score. Lewis missed the kick and the score was 16-all.
Army responded instantly after a Demons error from kick-off and Dainton, obviously keen to impress Wales RL coach Tom Brindle, who was in the TV commentary box, charged over to give her side the lead back. McAuley converted.
Next it was Army’s turn to make an error when near to their own line. Demons regained the ball and had a strong set, but were offside from the final grubber kick.
In defence, the Welsh continued to deliver, as this end to end classic continued. The Army’s other Wales international Vicky Lea was held short of the line, before Glynn spilled a Grace Standbridge pass whilst under pressure.
However Glynn made up for that minutes later when she put Price free on the wing for her to score. Glynn missed the conversion attempt.
As the feisty encounter reached the final 15 minutes, Cardiff’s discipline was starting to cost them. After giving away a penalty 30 metres from the line, the Army could have sealed the game only for the set to end in a rare poorly executed kick.
Cardiff raced upfield and after the Army gave away a penalty, the Welsh managed to complete the set brilliantly as Lewis dived through a batch of players after receiving Reardon’s pass. Lewis failed to convert, leaving the Army 26-20 up with ten minutes remaining.
From the next attack, Cardiff scored again. Reardon picked up the ball from dummy half and grounded well. Crucially for the Army, Lewis’s kick hit the post and nearly went over, but not quite. Army were now only 26-24 up with five minutes remaining.
Cardiff had another chance to win and were so close. Leanna Maybank and Rosie Carr linked up to create space for Chelcey Greasley, but the ball slipped out of her hands.
Norkett had a chance to score the winner, but couldn’t turn due to some great Army defence. Then Army gave away a penalty. With 10 seconds remaining on the clock, Lewis squeezed through the Army players to run over and score the winning try. She converted herself and the celebrations, led by injured club captain Shaunni Davies, who was coaching from the sidelines, began.
Team Lists and Scoring Information
|British Army RL||Tries||Goals||DGs||Pts||Cards|
|6||Ffion Lewis (c)||2||3||14|
|5||0 - 4||British Army RL||Try|
|6||0 - 4||British Army RL||Missed Conversion|
|14||0 - 8||British Army RL||Try|
|15||0 - 10||British Army RL||Conversion|
|25||4 - 10||Eleri Michael||Cardiff Demons||Try|
|26||6 - 10||Ffion Lewis||Cardiff Demons||Conversion|
|31||6 - 14||British Army RL||Try|
|33||6 - 16||British Army RL||Conversion|
|36||10 - 16||Molly Reardon||Cardiff Demons||Try|
|37||12 - 16||Ffion Lewis||Cardiff Demons||Conversion|
|48||16 - 16||Seren Gough-Walters||Cardiff Demons||Try|
|49||16 - 16||Ffion Lewis||Cardiff Demons||Missed Conversion|
|50||16 - 20||British Army RL||Try|
|51||16 - 22||British Army RL||Conversion|
|59||16 - 26||British Army RL||Try|
|60||16 - 26||British Army RL||Missed Conversion|
|68||20 - 26||Ffion Lewis||Cardiff Demons||Try|
|69||20 - 26||Ffion Lewis||Cardiff Demons||Missed Conversion|
|72||24 - 26||Molly Reardon||Cardiff Demons||Try|
|73||24 - 26||Ffion Lewis||Cardiff Demons||Missed Conversion|
|79||28 - 26||Ffion Lewis||Cardiff Demons||Try|
|80||30 - 26||Ffion Lewis||Cardiff Demons||Conversion|