Rugby Union: Nine girls from the borough played for Lancashire against Northumbria
Date published: 04 December 2017
Erin Stott, Courtney Mills, Darcy Bowker, Ebony Clegg, Chloe Boardman, Megan Dickinson, Olivia Turner, Summer Harris and Serena Cape (bottom) played for Lancashire Rugby Union
Local rugby union players produced stand out performances in two age group games against Northumbria as they made sure Lancashire ended the year on a high.
Five girls from both Rochdale based teams, Erin Stott, Courtney Mills, Darcy Bowker, Ebony Clegg for Littleborough and Serena Cape from Rochdale, represented their clubs at under 15 level while Chloe Boardman, Megan Dickinson, Olivia Turner and Summer Harris from Littleborough made their mark in the red and white of Lancashire at under 18 level.
In an East versus West derby game that pitted Lancashire against the best Northumbria have to offer, Rochdale Rugby Union hosted a highly competitive affair as both teams played their final county match of the year.
At under 15 level, the local ladies all made telling contributions particularly in a frantic first half that saw them build a lead that they would not lose their grip on.
The first score came from a chip over a defensive line that was gathered and placed over in the corner by Lancashire's inside centre.
A second soon followed as Littleborough's Erin Stott was stopped metres from the line after a mazy run into the visitors 22. While the winger lost the ball from the ensuing ruck, a tackle by Rochdale's blindside flanker Serena Cape on the next phase caused a knock on by her Northumbrian counterpart. A Lancastrian leapt on the loose ball over the try line to score an opportunistic try.
Littleborough ladies Darcy Bowker, on her first start for Lancashire this winter, and Courtney Mills put in big tackles and turnovers to break up an increasingly determined Northumbria side. However, they were helpless when Northumbria scored a try from a quick tap penalty.
With the scores at 10-5 for most of the second half, it took until the final 10 minutes for the game to spark back into life.
Lancashire scored under the posts through the inside centre.
Northumbria responded with a consolation, profiting from a collapsed maul that took them two metres out from the Lancashire line to squeeze over on the next phase.
At the final whistle Lancashire had won 17-10.
In the Under 18s match, Lancashire were superior to their North East rivals as they thrashed the Northumberian side 34 points to nil.
The Under 18s hooker scored with a close range crash ball try following a number of close attempts.
The second came from line speed defence led by Littleborough's Chloe Boardman, that caused a poor pass in midfield. The overweight pass was taken at speed by Boardman's centre partner who managed to hold off the covering defence on the way to the line.
The fourth and fifth tries were about team work as good distribution and running lines created space for the full back to send winger Kayleigh in on the outside.
Littleborough's Olivia Turner was a constant disruption to the Northumbrian attack, turning over on several occasions and legally slowing the ball down to help her team mates get back into position.
As the light faded in the second half, Northumbria found themselves with more possession and territory. They kept meeting a resolute Lancashire defence in Chloe Boardman and substitute centre partner Summer Harris.
Lancashire made their final opportunity count as quick ball generated by Megan Dickinson helped push them close to the line and eventually over it.