Bedford Tigers held the first of two trials for the new Betfred Women’s Super League on Saturday and were not disappointed. The standard on show surpassed expectations, as a variety of rugby backgrounds came together to start this exciting experience.
The rugby league club has been actively recruiting and encouraging female players with experience of playing representative rugby to come and receive coaching and to form a team for what will be a high level of competition. The fixtures for this first year will be in June and July, so after the second trial, this coming Saturday, the preparations will ramp up quickly.
Tigers view this as a very exciting and important expansion and every effort will be made to make the women’s team a strong and successful element of the club’s future.
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Bedford Tigers travelled to reigning Southern Conference League Champions Hammersmith Hills Hoists on Saturday, and pushed their opponents to the limit in yet another agonising defeat, with goal-kicking denying the visitors a point.
The home side took an swift 8-0 lead, through two well worked tries on the left edge.
Full-back, Josh Hudson-Lett continued his try-scoring form with his first of two, as he showed good strength to hold off a number of Hammersmith defenders to slam the ball down.
With half-time approaching, the Tigers equalised after Alex Tollan collected a bouncing ball inside his own 20-metre line, and sprinted down the left edge before passing inside to debutant Saope Soko to dot down.
Having lost 0-54 to Hammersmith in 2019, Tigers knew that this was now a winnable game.
After just a few minutes of the second half, Scott Aspinall dotted down to give Bedford a narrow four-point lead.
Hills Hoists hit straight back though, with two well worked tries, once again down their stronger left edge.
The visitors then pushed their lead out to 12, the largest of the game for either side, and with ten minutes left the Tigers looked to have lost the game late on once again.
Unlike last week, Bedford rallied and after peppering the Hammersmith try-line and forcing multiple repeat sets, Hudson-Lett crossed acrobatically on the right edge.
Sam Richbell converted to make the score 24-18 with just under five minutes remaining.
The Tigers had two further opportunities to cross the line as Matt Neild, Sam Viller and Soko linked up on the left edge, but once again the ball failed to stick to hands and the visitors held out for the two points.
Bedford are back at home again this weekend as fierce rivals Hemel Stags travel to Putnoe Woods as both sides look to pick up their first win of this extremely competitive campaign.
The club held their first trials for the new Betfred Women’s Super League on Saturday. See back page.