The U18 Mermaids travelled to Glossop on Sunday, aiming to keep their unbeaten record this season intact. The team however was anything but intact - with their full-back, fly-half, top try scorer and several other key players missing, it was always going to be an uphill struggle.
The Colwyn Bay team agreed to play with less players than Glossop in order to prepare for the inevitably tough matches coming up against the other welsh regions.
Captain for this match, Kumari Tilakawardane chose to receive kick off, and in rainy conditions, the match kicked off.
As it was a training game, play was allowed to continue despite errors, and this made for a scrappy start, particularly for the Bay, and Glossop soon scored two converted tries, making the most of chances given and the two player overlap.
At 14-0 down the Mermaids knew they had to pick up their game, and they soon did - Gwen Harries making some thunderous tackles in the mid-field to keep Glossop in their own half. Due to the lack of players and in preparation fo rthe regional campaign, positions were rotated, with Cara Hope and Chloe Dymond alternating between flanker and centre, and Abi Beards and Kaya Harding taking turns at scrum-half.
Through tenacity, determination and by showing great skill the Mermaids worked their way up-field and good interplay between backs and forwards allowed Dymond to step her way through the last line of Glossop defence in the 22, with Hope adding the conversion.
The match was hard-fought, and tempers began to flare as the second half began, and the visitors refused to let their heads down, and in experimenting with different moves and set-pieces, worked their way down to the Glossop try-line. After several missed chances and infringements by the opposition, the Welsh team managed to form a strong maul which resulted in Hope, spurred on by vociferous Glossop supporters, driving through to touch down in the corner. The difficult conversion attempt was pulled just wide, which left the score at 14-12 to the home team.
With 15 minutes left the Mermaids sustained several injuries, with Harding leaving the field temporarily to have a knee wound treated, Dymond sustaining an ankle injury and Hope with a minor head/neck injury. There were no substitutes to take their places, nevertheless play continued with even more determination, and through consistent phases, and phenominal driving from Amelia stubbs, the ball was released to Harding who side-stepped through to score what would ultimately be the match winning try. Hope added the conversion and the game ended with some heroic defence in the last 10 minutes, which saw play kept in Glossop's 22 until the referee blew the whistle for full time on a tense match.
Although the entire team showed amazing spirit and togetherness to win the game from 14-0 down, the Mermaids coaching staff decided to nominate Kaya Harding and Kumari Tilakawardane as joint player of the match, for outstanding play and leadership.