Scarborough Valkyries made the long trip to Derby and came away from the east Midlands with a stunning four try victory from their first ever National Knockout Cup game.
The visitors had the majority of possession in the first half, controlling it well and going through the phases.
Their industry in training was paying off and slick work, from organisation in defence and quick line speed to securing ball at the breakdown, saw them dominate.
The Valkyries took an early lead when they were awarded a penalty try when Mel Halstead was high-tackled in the act of scoring in the 10th minue. She converted herself for a 7-0 lead.
Bex Carr grabbed the visitors’ second touchdown following good midfield work to stretch the lead to 12-0 before a Derby try cut the lead to 12-5 midway through the half.
Clair Wilkinson rounded off a great first half for the Valkyries with a solo effort for a 17-5 lead at the break.
The Vipers had much more possession in the second half but the Scarborough side stuck to their task with terrific defending from Carr, Halstead and Casey Jordan when Derby were camped on the visitors’ line.
As the Valkyries tired, the Vipers drove over for a converted try to put them within five points of the visitors at 17-12 and only a converted try from victory.
Scarborough maintained their composure and went looking for the try that would secure the win.
They re-doubled their efforts and got the win their efforts so richly deserved when skipper and scrum-half Cathy-Ann Myers jinked through a mesmerised Derby defence to power over for the clinching try.
Halstead added the extras for a memorable 24-12 cup win.
This first cup win was all the more creditable as the Scarborough girls lost two players on the morning of the match and played the whole game with 14.
As they have progressed, the skill levels within the group have improved and they play some good structured rugby with flair.
Skipper Myers was delighted with the performance of the Valkyries.
She said: “Coming into the game I didn’t know how it was going to go, it could have been an absolute disaster.
“Only having 14 players and a trek to Derby not knowing what to expect was a pretty daunting prospect for us all.
“However, from the kick-off, the aggression and determination of the girls was outstanding.
“Everyone encouraged one another, support play in attack and defence was phenomenal and nobody was going to settle for anything less than a win.
“I couldn’t have asked for any more.”
Player of the Match:
Had an outstanding game in both attack and defence where her organisation was pivotal.
She worked tirelessly going forward getting across the gain line and putting her team on the front foot.