Of the 24 teams competing, all 12 Women’s Super League teams were amongst the list where the top six qualified for a Finals event on 24th July. In the Tigresses group stood Huddersfield Giants, Salford Red Devils and Oulton Raidettes. A tough group but Head Coach Matty Faulkner was pleased with how the day panned out.
“It was a new exciting format of the game and I think the RFL did a really good job of the event. I think that the girls really enjoyed the day and we positioned ourselves really well in all of the matches we played.”
Castleford faced Huddersfield Giants in their first game – a side who have a recognised building model having grown considerably in the past three years and become a very strong side. The Giants went on to win the group and beat Castleford 31 points to 6 in their opening matchup.
Next up the Tigresses came up against a newly formed Salford Red Devils side who also carried themselves well, winning two out of their three fixtures. The match where they faced Castleford was one of their victories, as it finished 26 points to 4.
The final game of the group was Oulton Raidettes who Castleford played in the group stages of the Challenge Cup earlier in the year. The tightest of the three contests and unfortunate not to gain more from the match but Oulton led the way by winning 12-4.
In what was a slightly different format of the game, the Fords showed high levels of spirit, effort and attitude throughout the whole day. Highlighting some standout performers and the team as a whole, Faulkner reflected on what he saw at the nines festival.
“A lot of the girls did really well. I think Natalia Mia and Verity Randall played some good rugby, Maisie Lumb carried the ball strongly and Kaitlin Varley is obviously a very good player.
“However, I think the girls who stood out the most were some of the Academy girls. The rules were slightly different, so it allowed us to play some of the Academy and youth players. They are a perfect example of what we are trying to do with the youth system; drip feed the girls in and give them an opportunity where we can.
“The team is definitely improving and the elements that we have put into the pathway such as the strength and conditioning, physio and medical provisions are helping make big improvements already.”