Barnsley Ladies celebrated picking up the National Rugby Awards Women’s Team of the Year at Twickenham with a resounding 65-7 victory over Ashfield Ladies before a large crowd at Shaw Lane.
It was their first competitive run out since their defeat against Lewes in The Junior Cup Semi-Final in March.
Despite Barnsley demonstrating their strength and class of rugby, with powerful runners and well-executed set play, it was Ashfield who got the first score of the game.
But his only served to spur the home side into action and they dominated from then on, scoring 11 tries and converting five of them as Ashfield couldn’t deal with Barnsley’s consistent strong running.
Amber Abdurrahman marked her first ever senior appearance with a hat-trick of tries. Katie England scored a brace, as did Ellie Frow, her first since March 2015 after being out of the game for after knee surgery.
Dawn Woodcock had scored the first, Sally Wenham, Hailey Swann and Sarah Carter alo getting over.
And there were five conversions from the boot of Alix Taylor .
Barnsley start their league campaign in National Championship 2 North on Sunday when they travel to Darlington.
Barnsley fought off stiff competition to be named Women’s Team of the Year at the prestigious Crabbie’s National Rugby Award.
They triumphed despite only being formed four years ago and captain Alix Taylor was on hand to collect the prize.
Taylor, who has been playing the game for 10 years, could not hide her delight at the team receiving such an honour.
“I feel very lucky to be part of such a team that keeps going forward and progressing as a team. It’s really positive for us as a club,” said Taylor.
“As a quite new ladies’ section, it’s hugely important to keep on recruiting players to play at this grassroots level.
“Hopefully this award will inspire other girls to come forward and play.”
And as an experienced member of the game, Taylor admits it was even more special to receive the award against the backdrop of the national side’s heroics at this summer’s Women’s Rugby World Cup.
“I’ve been part of the women’s game for over a decade now, but to see the progression the sport has made in recent years – and even with the World Cup – just shows how massive that progression has been. It’s great to be part of it,” said Taylor.
Simon Frow, who coaches the team, said the award capped off a truly memorable night at the iconic home of England Rugby.
He said: “We were here last year, when we came second. To win it is just a massive honour. We’ve gone two seasons unbeaten and all credit must go to the girls – and the new players that have come through – as well as those who have played since Under-15 and U-18 level. I couldn’t be more proud.
“Alix and I sat on a table of ten, where there were three different rugby clubs represented, talking, supporting and clapping each other.”
“The whole night has just been brilliant.”
* Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer passionately support rugby at all levels. To help amateur clubs thrive, they have launched Crabbie’s Rugby Rewards. Find out how your club can earn kit for every bottle of Crabbie’s sold in your clubhouse at www.crabbiesrugby.co.uk