Pictures ©Duncan Gray
Tigers Victorious in their 1st Women’s Australian Rules Football Match
Glasgow Sharks 14 pts. defeated by Tyne Tees Tigers 30 pts.
On Saturday the 12th of April, England’s first female Aussie Rules club-side travelled to Glasgow to take on the Glasgow Sharks Ladies in the 2014 Haggis Cup. This is the first time two British clubs have played a women’s game. The Tigers ladies who had only picked up an Aussie rules ball for the first time 12 weeks previously were excited with the anticipation of playing in this historic game.
The game was played as 8-a-side with 4 x 15 minute quarters on a full size rugby pitch. With the home side having a large interchange bench (in Aussie Rules players can sub on and off at anytime) and the Tigers having none over the course of the game the Tigers fitness would be tested.
The first quarter was a cagey affair as each side sussed each other out. The Tigers created plenty of opportunities but only managed to kick 2 behinds (worth 1 pt.) and a late Glasgow goal (worth 6 points) saw the home team go into the 1st break 4 points ahead. The second quarter saw the Tigers start to look more composed with Lynn Mitchell kicking the Tigers first competitive goal to take the lead. The high quality of the marking and kicking game of Tiger players Lisa McHugh and Polly Moane caught the eye of the spectators and coaches alike.
The Tigers worked hard for each other in the third quarter adding another goal seeing them take a 5 point lead into the final break. With one quarter remaining and less than a single goal between the sides, would the Tiger legs tire and allow the larger Glasgow squad to escape with the victory? Instead of fading the Tigers grew stronger moving the ball quickly with some long kicking, good marks and quick hands to kicking another two goals extending their lead and eventually running out the winners by 16 points.
Afterwards Tigers Captain Lucy Kavanagh talked of her pride in being involved in England’s first Aussie Rules team “I felt extremely proud to be representing the Tyne Tees Tigers in the Haggis cup. Not only did we make history by becoming the first ever women’s English AFL team we won the Haggis cup! What an amazing day!”
Tigers Coach Ian Baxter “I’m very proud of what the girls have achieved today. It’s not easy to take up an entirely new sport, but to be pioneers of the game is a fantastic achievement. To play as well as they have is a credit to them and the hard work they’ve put in.”
Given the success of the day both the Tigers and the Glasgow Sharks are looking to hold a return match in Newcastle with dates in the late spring/early summer currently being discussed.
Quotes from some of the girls after playing their first games
Lucy Kavanagh (Tyne Tees Tigers Captain)
“Being involved in setting up a ladies team has been very rewarding. Hopefully we can stick at it at training and continue to develop the team! I felt extremely proud to be representing the Tyne Tees Tigers in the Haggis cup. Not only did we make history by becoming the first ever women’s English AFL team we won the Haggis cup! What an amazing day! I hope to continue the good work at training and push forward in strengthening the ladies team as a whole!! “
Nicola Mclaughlin (Tyne Tees Tigers)
“I like Aussie rules for the skills and that the game is fast paced. The game on Saturday was a good introduction and hopefully over the next few months we can keep working on our skills and raise the profile of the women’s team. The more women we get on board the more chance we have of raising the profile of Aussie rules so we can get a few matches. The haggis cup weekend was brilliant great banter with all the teams!”
Lynn Mitchell (Tyne Tees Tigers)
“It was amazing to be a part of and win the Haggis, especially because we are such a small team. Hopefully this will help to get some more people interested in the sport. For a team/club that has not been together long there is a wonderful sense of camaraderie. It feels great to have our first game over and to get the win against a team that would have been the favourites. It is just brilliant and I can’t wait for the next one. “
Lisa McHugh (Tyne Tees Tigers)
“Great weekend! It was all very well organised and gave us a real taste for Aussie rules! Feel very proud to be the First Ladies team in England and to have brought the Haggis Cup home to Newcastle. Hopefully it will be the first of many!!”
Polly Moane (Tyne Tees Tigers)
“It was an amazing experience to play our first game of Aussie rules and come away with a trophy! Everyone worked really hard and all our training with the men’s team paid off! Hopefully this is the start of big things for the tigers women and men’s teams!
Stacey Hughes (Glasgow Sharks Captain)
“Today was a great day for women’s Aussie Rules in Britain. It’s the third year that the Haggis Cup has included a women’s match of some sort and to welcome Tyne Tees, a brand new team, to Glasgow and have so many of our players playing their first ever game of Aussie rules today was great for the development of the game. I’m proud of the effort from all my girls today but unfortunately Tyne Tees were too strong for us on the day. I feel the wind and luck played a big factor in the outcome of the game but it was a fiercely fought contest and there are lots of positives for us to take from the match. I look forward to coming up against Tyne Tees in the future and wish them the best of luck developing the women’s side of their club.”
In the next couple of months, 3 games are planned in Great Britain:
June 7th – Newcastle hosted by Tyne Tees Tigers
June 21st – London Wimbledon Hawks Ladies Day
July 26th/27th – Doncaster (provisional) as curtain raiser to AFLCNE Men’s Grand Final
Any British women interested in joining please drop an email to Ian Baxter firstname.lastname@example.org
The next European women’s competition will be the Axios Euro Cup in London on the 4th/5th of October. Please get in touch with your country’s coordinator for more information.