DALE ON FIRE!
Southport Ladies welcomed Eccles 2 to Waterloo road for the quarter final of the plate competition. Lauren McCluskey reports.
Having beaten Eccles narrowly in the league match this could have been a tricky draw. However, Southport started very strongly and made their presence felt. From an early penalty, Southport opted to kick to the corner and set up a drive from the line out. The Southport pack executed and hooker Lisa Dunkley spotted the gap and burst through for the opening score within two minutes.
Unfortunately, Eccles could not raise the full fifteen and played most of the first half with thirteen players. This allowed Southport time and space, with the Southport pack sucking in the Eccles defence creating big over-laps for the backs to exploit. Katie Hussey, pulling all the strings at fly-half, spotted the gaps and continually released the backs in acres of space.
Jessica Dale, playing her first game of senior rugby scored the first of her four tries after a perfectly executed backs move. Dale, who had only the day before been playing a national level netball match, showed she’s an exciting addition to the Southport back line with her netball handling skills and speed. Dale added another only a few minutes later.
The next score came from the back of a scrum. Scrum half, Faye Dagnall- who was a menace all afternoon in attack and defence- showed some silky ball skills to release winger Emma Barisio, who powered over the line.
With Eccles heads going down and Southport confidence growing, they played some excellent team phases of rugby. Direct running from the forwards again sucked in the Eccles defence, giving the backs opportunity to run moves. Another excellent try from Dale was quickly followed by Hussey releasing Gemma Hurst through the centres who shrugged off the ailing Eccles defence to score under the posts. Play maker, Hussey then put through captain, Lauren McCluskey who scored the final try of the first half. Extras added by the boot of Hussey and Southport were 43-0 up at half time.
Eccles, who gained a player at half time, started the second half with purpose but could not push back the strong Southport defence. After twenty minutes of strong defence Southport turned back to attack. Winning a penalty on the five metre line, Southport could have taken the easy points, however McCluskey opted to go for more. Dagnall, cleverly using two sets of forwards hands and louise gray powering over to score in the corner. Next, a hopeful kick was chased up back winger Louise Palmer and Dale stole the loose ball and showed her strength by breaking the tackle and going through for her fourth. Dale then turned architect, putting through McCluskey for her second and easy final score of the day. The referee had the final score of the day as 56-0.
Back of the match- Jessica Dale, Forward of the match- Lisa Dunkley, opposition’s player of the match- Faye Dagnall.
Southport ladies have an important few weeks- challenging for league and plate honours. If you are interested in women and girls rugby please visit our website; southportrfc.com, for further details and contacts.