THEY won the inaugural Amanda Ferguson Cup and thanks to their defensive mettle on Saturday afternoon, the Bathurst Bulldogs can also boast about taking out the first Bathurst 10s women’s decider.
Just over two months after the Bathurst Bulldogs trumped CSU on Central West Rugby Union’s grand final day, the girls in gold and blue were back on their home turf at Ashwood Park.
After two editions featuring solely men’s teams, this year the expanded Bathurst 10s featured a six-team women’s competition as well and it was Bulldogs who took the honours.
Having finished the round games ranked number one, Bulldogs advanced to the decider where they held off a determined Red Dog Rugby Club outfit in a punishing 12 minutes of rugby to win 14-0.
Bulldogs skipper Mandy Scott admitted she was surprised the newly formed Red Dog outfit had finished the round games in second, but that they certainly provided stiff competition in the final.
READ MORE: Photos from the Bathurst 10s tournament
“We actually thought we were going to be playing Easts or Wollongong, so we were quite surprised Red Dog got in, but our ladies are just hard,” Scott said.
“They hit hard, they run hard, they are just an amazing bunch of women and the build up and our skill level was fantastic.
“We really had to dig deep out out there, we were hurting, but we just had to pick ourselves up and keep going. We did a job out there for each other and it was fantastic to play in that side.
“It was bit scary, they’ve got some fast players and we weren’t sure if they were going to make those lines.”
While the Bathurst won both its round games on Saturday against Avoca Beach and Red Dog, Red Dog booked its spot in the cup final with a helping hand from an experienced Bulldog in Mel Waterford.
The talented forward scored the opening try in Red Dog’s 3-1 win over CSU which secured their spot.
But in the decider Waterford was part of Bulldogs’ line-up, as were some new faces.
Orange Hawks rugby league star Jacky Lyden, Bathurst Lady Bushrangers Central West AFL talent Haylee Lepaio and NSW Country union representative Em McDonald all lined up for the Bulldogs.
“We like those ring-ins, we were a little short on numbers today, we had a few girls who were sick and injured, so we had to ask for a bit of help,” Scott said.
“The talent we had out there was phenomenal and they are a lovely bunch of women to play with too.
“We are tired, it’s intensity footy and it’s stop-start all day, but we lifted.”
It was Red Dog who had the first attacking chance in Saturday’s final after winning a scrum against the feed after just over a minute had ticked over.
But in attempting to drive over the line Red Dog knocked on. From the resulting scrum – which Bulldogs won this time – the ball was spread right and into the arms of Lyden.
She sprinted almost the length of the field to score and the conversion gave Bulldogs a 7-0 lead.
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Though behind, Red Dog’s forward pack rallied. They strung together some nice phase rugby to once again pressure their rivals’ line.
They looked destined to score, but Edwina Ulberg stole possession defending on her line to get Bulldogs out of trouble.
The second six-minute half again saw Bulldogs having to toil in defence, Nicole Schneider getting through a mountain of work.
But when Red Dog knocked on, McDonald pounced on the loose ball. The clean out was quick and Kate Gullifer put Courtney Auld into space.
With 90 seconds left on the clock McDonald came up with another big play - a covering tackle to put Red Dog’s winger into touch.