John’s-Chad’s Womens’ Rugby Co-Captain Erin Lashley discusses the unexpected win for the team at the Floodlit Cup Final, which took place in March.
The St John’s-Chad’s Women’s Rugby Club entered into the challenge for the Floodlit Cup after finishing fourth in the league due to difficulty finding numbers throughout term. So, both Louise (Co-Captain from St Chad’s) and I entered the Cup optimistically, planning game by game desperately hoping for enough numbers to field a team!
We defeated John Snow (last year’s champions) in the Semi-Final with no substitutions and our defence was worked hard. I was amazed at the tackles the girls were making, especially having to work so hard without being able to come off the pitch. In the end, John Snow were only able to score one try, and it took about five minutes for them to achieve that – a great defensive feat by John’s-Chad’s. A standout moment for me in that match was a try scored by Genevieve Pringle, who had never played rugby before coming to Durham, and who has really developed as a player over the two years she’s trained. After the final whistle blew, the extreme high I felt could not be described! I think most of the team – myself included – had expected that to be the end of our season, especially with the lack of numbers. But the adversity seemed to bring out the best in the team. The shock of realising we had done it took a while to wear off!
We knew the final was going to be a tough match, as our opponents Collingwood were the current League Champions and had had an undefeated season. The first thing I noticed as we stepped onto the Hollow’s Drift pitch was the support both from other college teams and members of both St Chad’s and St John’s Colleges. I think that is when it first dawned on me that the final was really happened and that we had a chance of winning! We had a very difficult first half, with the score at 15-0 to Collingwood at half time. At this point, many of our players believed that we were not able to win. Louise (our resident try scorer) managed to turn the tide of the game in the second half and from on there we were unstoppable!
From my perspective, as a Captain who has run training sessions all year, the moments that stood out to me most were my teammates’ achievements. One notable moment of the Final was Maddi A-G’s try. Maddi – a complete beginner to the world of rugby – came to her first training session just 10 days before we battled Collingwood in the final, yet managed to make one of the most spectacular breaks I’ve witnessed first-hand! This was closely followed by Jenny Knox’s try conversion. I didn’t know it at the time, but that conversion was the reason we won overall, making it that much more special! Generally, I remember thinking that each and every person involved in John’s-Chad’s, from the players and the coaches to the Exec, had put the effort in, and that this performance was truly our best.
It was a delight to be at the Women’s Rugby Final last night and to see our John’s-Chad’s team win a famous victory over the mighty Collingwood. 15 points down at half time, they powered through the second half and in the end were easy winners. Well done to Captain Erin Lashley and the team!David wilkinson, principal of st john’s college
When we heard the final whistle go, we initially didn’t realise it was the end of the match and had to clarify with the referee whether we had won. Once it was confirmed we were ecstatic! I think both myself and Louise were speechless as it was more than we ever could have hoped for coming into the season! Our whole battle for the Floodlit Cup has definitely been something I will remember for a long time. Also, I think our victory showed everybody why rugby is a fantastic sport, as we’ve welcomed new players even towards the end of the season who still played amazingly. As I am leaving Durham in the Summer, I hope that they continue to play so next year’s team will be able to have those fantastic winning moments but also experience playing alongside such a fantastic, close-knit team!