January closed with a door opening for Lancashire girls wanting to play rugby as Rochdale RUFC’s girls section hosted their first ever matches at Under 13 and Under 15.

The crowd was almost double that at a first 15 match at the club as they lined up against Leigh and Dukinfield and 47 girls had a great afternoon, all eager for more rugby opportunities.

The proof of the great experience for the players came when three girls watching from the touchline asked if they could join the action as it looked such fun.

Organiser and coach Oliver Howard said:

“The girls clearly enjoyed themselves and the level they played in matches was as good as our boys club players. They were all winners today and the game of rugby union was the biggest winner of all.”

Said player Sofia Kelly: “I felt our team came together and played to their full ability in what was our first competitive outing, it was just fantastic!”

Skye Whitton agreed: “I was really nervous at the start and before the game, but, once that whistle went, a new reality hit home and I loved it.”

England Rugby Community Rugby Coach Aaron Howorth said: “It was great to see so many people up at the club on a Sunday afternoon to support the girls after many months of hard work from dedicated volunteers, parents and the girls themselves.”

Rochdale’s girls’ squad has 32 regular players and three more girls joined the club on the day.