Emma Banks and Rebecca Clough get the chance to shine for Saracens Centre of Excellence Pathway team
Emma Banks and Rebecca Clough have been taking the chance to impress as part of the Saracens Centre of Excellence Pathway girls’ team.
The Cambridge Rubies under-18s players were part of the Premiership side’s squad for the Southern CoE Tournament in England.
Banks and Clough combine their studies at Comberton Village College and Hills Road Sixth Form College with training and playing twice weekly with the Rubies, where they are joint-captains of the under-18 girls’ team, and two-and-a-half hours training with Saracens, with the time split between skills and game play, and conditioning.
At the tournament, Saracens beat Gloucester 15-0, lost to Exeter 12-0 and lost narrowly to Bristol, 29-24.
Cambridge Rubies were action on the first-team pitch last Sunday when they faced Old Albanian under-18s, who feature a large number of players from Oaklands Academy including eight who represent Saracens under-18 girls.
They played into a strong wind in the first half, and started well, forcing mistakes and turnovers from OAs, but they were unable to turn the possession into points.
OAs made the breakthrough after 15 minutes, taking advantage of a tap penalty close to the Cambridge line to move the ball right to the wing for the score.
The final try of the half was sheer determination from OAs as Cambridge defended valiantly, their inside centre breaking clear for the final score of the half.
At 15-0 down playing against the wind the Cambridge team were satisfied with their efforts, but knew they needed to raise the tempo to match that of their opponents.
In the second half it was Old Albanian who looked the more energised and capitalised early on with Cambridge making handling errors in the strong wind to make a line break in midfield and score to the right of the posts.
Cambridge came back into the game to exert pressure for 20 minutes before the next score for OAs, who moved play right from a penalty for the centre to jink through a gap to score under the posts, and the conversion was also successful.
Two tries in quick succession completed Old Albanian’s scoring for a 39-0 win.
But the match was a success for the Rubies, who had two players appear in their first game of rugby in the second half, as they stuck to their game plan against a strong opponent to produce an all-round team effort.