Blues Ladies secured a 17-12 victory over the Combined Services in an historic encounter at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park last Friday evening.
Despite the atrocious conditions, both sides tried to play positive rugby to entertain a record crowd for this fixture. A try double from Rafiuke Taylor and the kicking of Robyn Wilkins proved decisive for Blues Ladies – who are sponsored by BT Sport - on the night.
The choice of Blues Ladies as the opposition was particularly apt for the 2014 Women’s Remembrance Match.
The declaration by Cardiff Rugby Club one hundred years ago when it suspended all fixtures and urged all “playing and subscribing members of the Club, as well as footballers generally, and spectators of Amateur Rugby Football in the District, to do everything in their power for the good of the Empire” is well known. But some of the other contributions of the Arms Park to the War effort are perhaps less so.
In 1917 the pitch hosted the first ever Cardiff Ladies match in aid of war charities when Cardiff took on neighbours Newport. Surely no one at the time would have envisaged that women’s rugby would grow to be such a vibrant sport.
Another key event hosted by the Arms Park, was perhaps a prelude to the recent Invictus Games organised by Prince Harry. The Sports for Wounded Soldiers held in August 1917 was further evidence that the Cardiff club had held true to its pledge of 1914, when handing over the Arms Park to the Marquis of Bute, whilst declaring that it may be used in any way he saw fit to support the future war effort.
So some 100 years on, Jane Leonard led her Combined Services team out on to the very modern day BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park. Not only to meet the challenge of the Blues Ladies but also to play a game in memory of those who did not return from the two World Wars and the numerous conflicts since.
A huge thank you to everyone who supported this event.