Record crowd see Bedford Tigers women in opening Betfred Super League victory

The long-awaited opener to the Women’s Betfred Super League, hosted by the Bedford Blues, did not disappoint a record crowd for the league, writes Stuart Smith.

By Zoe Ashton
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 4:20 pm
Caroline Collie scored six tries for Bedford Tigers and is training with the England squad
Caroline Collie scored six tries for Bedford Tigers and is training with the England squad

It was quite an occasion, with an announcer and a live video feed being broadcast around the country.

Bedford Tigers rugby league club had recruited well for this second season and were by far the stronger on the day, with one outstanding performer in their 64-18 victory over Bristol Golden Ferns.

Shiv Drummond got the scoring underway for Tigers before Caroline Collie added the first of her six tries.

Atama Raura scored four tries for Bedford Tigers against Anglian Vipers, who are new to the league this season

The visitors replied but Rachel Taylor and two more for Collie opened an unassailable lead. The Ferns had the last word of the half with two tries demonstrating their skills and fight, for 26-14.

The Ferns’ bravery in hanging on in the first period had taken its toll and many gaps were appearing in their defence.

All of the Tigers’ strong runners took advantage, with Zoe Booth, Nicky Gross, Chloe Allcorn and Charlotte Hamlyn-Williams all dotting down under the sticks. The Ferns, to their credit, did manage a score themselves, which they surely deserved for their efforts.

The afternoon belonged to Caroline Collie, however, as a second half hat-trick to go with the first’s, along with eight conversions meant a personal tally of 40 points and a very easy award of player of the match.

Superb performances at this level have seen Collie called into England Squad training and this fantastic achievement should encourage all who compete in this league.

Tigers’ men were in East RL action, visiting league newcomers Norfolk’s Anglian Vipers and winning 70-22.

Within minutes Sean Phimister dotted down the first of his hat-trick of tries and when Ash White and Atama Raura both added to the tally it seemed as if there would be only one-way traffic.

Vipers continued to fight hard for every yard and tackle with spirit, but by half time Will Eccleston and Phimister again had made it 10-26.

Tigers’ greater experience and pace showed in the second half. The hugely impressive 17-year old, Ben Radnor scored a fine individual try, with others for Ryan Litchfield and Jack Webb. The outstanding effort came from the pace and power of Raura, with four tries.