Dennis leads the way as Wire young guns shine in the Nines


TEENAGE full-back Anna Dennis was one of a handful of young Wire players to make their mark at the Women’s Nines Festival held at Victoria Park.

Dennis ran in a try in each of Warrington Wolves’ wins over Leigh Leopards and Widnes Vikings and set up a try for Charlie Magraw after a blistering run down the wing in their narrow opening-game defeat to York Valkyrie.
The 16 team strong, day-long Rugby Football League-organised tournament returned to the Asics Stadium, Victoria Park, and featured all eight Super League teams as well as squads from Telford, Leamington and Cardiff.
Head coach Armani Sharrock had named a youthful squad for the tournament and this looked to be paying off in their opening game against the Valkyrie when they raced into a 9-0 lead with skipper Katie May Williams adding to Magraw’s opener.
Solid Wire defence had kept the York attack at bat throughout the half but a lapse of concentration in the closing seconds saw Lisa Parker go in to reduce the half-time deficit to 9-4.

A mistake ridden start to the second period – each half lasting nine minutes – saw injury concerns for the Wire as Magraw and her partner in the halves, Millie Bell, both requiring treatment for knocks.
Warrington looked to have weathered the storm but with just minutes left, Isabelle Brennan broke through some poor defence to bring York within a point and – with the very last touch of the game – Sian Judd burst through to score a bonus point try under the sticks to give the Valkyrie a somewhat fortuitous 13-9 victory.
Leigh threw down the gauntlet with a solid 20-0 win against the Vikings in their opening game but, with Sharrock shuffling the pack, both sides struggled to break through some tight defence in a scoreless first half to the third game of the event.
The Leopards took the initiative when Molly Young benefited from a fumbled kick by Charlotte Melville to open the scoring.

Nicole Barnett try against Widnes

Nicole Barnett try against Widnes

The Wire hit back almost immediately as Dennis left the Leigh defence for dead following another fumbled kick, this time from Wire debutant Arabella Dahou, and Magraw added the extras to give Wire a 6-4 lead they were to hang on to thanks to some great goal line defence in the dying minutes.
Poor defence in the opening few minutes of their third game saw the Wire fall behind to a Sammi Trainor bonus point try which was converted to give Widnes a 7-0 lead, but once Abbi Johnstone had hit back superbly with a solo effort down the wing and cutting inside for a bonus point try of her own – converted by Dennis to level the scores – the Wire didn’t look back in securing a 24-7 win.
Further tries by Dennis, centre Nicole Barnett – after selling the Widnes defence an outrageous dummy to race in for a bonus point try – and Albany-d Coates meant the Wire finished second in the group to York.
With Saint Helens, Cardiff Demons and Wigan also qualifying, the Wire face an anxious wait to see if they will have done enough to get through to the finals day in July.

Anna Dennis
Abi Johnston
Nicole Barnett
Charlie McGraw
Katie May Williams
Meg Condliffe
Arabella Dahou
Grace Wray
Lauren Ellison
Olivia Hill
Olivia Webb
Ellie Jelves
Emily Tandy
Albany-d Coates


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