Women’s open-age match in Wales takes place for first time ever

Photo courtesy of Ian Lovell

Cardiff Blue Dragons won the first open-age women’s rugby league match in Wales after beating Rhondda Outlaws 52-10 on Saturday.

Despite the high margin of scoreline, the match was very competitive for much of the game, but the Cardiff side, who had trained for longer, and fielded rugby union regional players and internationals, had too much experience for the Pontypridd-based side.

Cardiff took a fourth minute lead when Millie Williams scored the first of her three tries, running in under the posts with Leanne Burnell converting.

The second and third tries came fairly quickly after the first. A good run from Charley Mundy was the second, that went unconverted, before Williams her second with a 50-metre run. Burnell added the extras and it was 16-0 on 12 minutes.

Ceri-Louise Wanklyn charged her way through for the fourth on 25 minutes which Burnell improved again, but after that, Outlaws started to cause Cardiff a few problems and it took good defence to keep the visitors scoreless before the break.

Cardiff’s fifth came from the last move of the first half. It was a skilful run from player of the match Burnell who couldn’t convert leaving the score on 26-0.

Rhondda came storming out of the traps at the start of the second half and scored a well-deserved try. Ffion Owen fought her way through but Stacey Wright couldn’t convert.

Defences then ruled for the best part of 20 minutes before Cardiff hooker Kim Jones used her strength to burst through and score their next try, which went unconverted.

That boosted Cardiff’s confidence and they scored three more quick tries. WRU international Raf Taylor ran 40 metres after a string of fine passes, then Burnell scored her second try which she converted.

Williams quickly followed her over for her hat-trick which was again converted.

Rhondda weren’t finished yet. Owen broke 40 metres for her second which Wright converted, but Cardiff had the final say. Burnell set up Wanklyn for her second before converting.

Cardiff Blue Dragons: Smith; Field, G Jones, Aitken, Williams; Mundy, Burnell; Wanklyn, Kim Jones, Bird, MacDonald, Wembley, Taylor. Subs: Empson, Wells, Telford, Kayleigh Jones.

Tries: Williams (3), Mundy, Jones, Wanklyn (2), Burnell (2), Taylor Goals: Burnell 6/10

Rhondda Outlaws: Owen; Lewis, Jones, Fletcher, Challenger; Hadland, Hopkins; McGuire, Stephens, Isaac, Creak, Owen, Wright. Subs: Evans, Gordon-Brown, Gray, Harris.

Tries: Owen (2) Goals: Wright 1/2

Attendance: 300

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