Women’s rugby abandoned due to injury

York’s women’s rugby team got their campaign off and running on Wednesday, but an injury to a Leeds player meant the game was abandoned

Image: Justyn Hardcastle

Image: Justyn Hardcastle

UNIVERSITY OF YORK 14

LEEDS MET CARNEGIE 3

Match abandoned after an injury to a Leeds player*

The Women’s firsts claimed victory over Leeds Met Carnegie in their opening game of the season in a match that will more likely be remembered for the injury to Leeds inside centre Charlotte Hampton that forced the game’s abandonment after 25 minutes. Even before the match started Leeds were on the back foot as a combination of England trials and injuries resulted in only ten players making the short journey north, many of whom were second teamers making the step up in other’s absence. York were thus limited to fielding only twelve players in what was a somewhat farcical start to the season.

Expectations were high for the new campaign as York’s first team coach, Josh Moatt, said his side were “looking to build on last year” when they “came second in the league and reached the semi finals of the cup.” Looking to raise the bar even higher he said he was “hoping to get to the final of the cup and win the league, which is not out of reach.”

Despite the confidence of their coach and their numerical supremacy it was Leeds who struck first in what was at times a scrappy opening to the game with both sides guilty of poor handling. Having been awarded a penalty in the third minute Charlotte Hampton duly converted to put the away side ahead. That however was as good as it got for Leeds who despite having a considerable amount of possession and play inside the York half failed to make their territory count.

Whilst the visitors favoured a kicking game the hosts preferred to utilise their superior pace and this approach soon reaped dividends. Following a nice spell of passing along the York back line Emma Nugent broke through the Leeds defence with a superb solo run that measured close to half the pitch and put York in the lead. While the visitors once more piled on the pressure from the kick off and nearly found their way through, York broke once more with another great run from Nugent, this time from well inside her own half to put York 14-3 up with just ten minutes on the clock.

Image: Eric Kenny

Leeds continued to kick deep into the York half but could not penetrate some solid and composed defending from the home team.  Indeed it was York who went closest to scoring again with Nugent almost breaking through once more as the hosts looked increasingly confident as the half progressed. Following a water break it was again the White Rose who were on top as they pressed hard from a Leeds lineout to turn over possession of the ball and some good running from the York backs saw them push the visitors back just short of the line, in what turned out to be the last passage of play.

At this point Leeds player Hampton attempted to make a tackle but ended up colliding with the York player leaving the Leeds inside centre lying on the ground with a suspected broken collarbone. With the away side already playing with ten, the game was abandoned as it became obvious Hampton could not continue. An ambulance was called and she was given oxygen following its arrival before being clapped off by opponents and team mates alike. It later emerged that she had broken her collar bone previously and as the York captain Aimee Miller put it “you’re always going to be susceptible” having sustained that injury before. Leeds captain Jo Johnson acknowledged that “it was not a foul” and it was extremely unfortunate in what had been a clean game for it to end in such a manner.

Nevertheless York skipper Miller was positive after what had been a very encouraging start to the season. “Up until the injury we were brilliant” she said. “We gelled well as a team and I felt that we could have got more points.” Miller and her team will need to retain such composure and teamwork if they are to achieve their lofty ambitions but the clinical nature of their opening display suggests they have every chance of doing so.

York line-up:

1. Linzi Hull

2. Hannah Curzon

3. Sarah McLoughlin

4. Fiona Parr

5. Lucy Davies

8. Shaunie Walsh

9. Emma Nugent

10. Aimee Miller

12. Vivian Nguyen

13. Amee Wilson

14. Elaine Flynn

15. Nikkie George

Substitutes: Angharad Ball, Jess Sharpe, Harriet Allsop, Emma Mathias, Claire Hogarth, Alex Khoo and Froso Katsouri

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