IF Bury's new ladies team were wondering what rugby union was all about they were given a baptism of mud in their latest friendly against Broughton Park.
Far from putting the senior side off, they revelled in the conditions, turning in their best performance yet in what was only their third friendly.
After failing to trouble the scorer in their opening two matches against established ladies side Littleborough, Bury gave Broughton Park a run for their money in the puddles at Radcliffe Road.
Sonia 'SP' Welsh ran in the club's first ever try, and her score was quickly followed by one from Lucy Hobson.
And while the visitors ended up winning the match 25-10, coach Phil Kay said the competitive run-out did the women a power of good.
"I have to admit at first we regretted getting the game on as it has left the pitch in a bit of a state," said Kay.
"But the pictures from the day came out great and really showed the team and the club in a good light.
"They have been banded about on Twitter and caused a bit of a buzz, so it has turned into great exposure for us.
"I know the players enjoyed it, that really came through in the photographs, which have generated quite a lot of interest and that is what it is all about."
Broughton opened the scoring within minutes, putting the first five points on the score board with no conversion.
The conditions were hard for both teams with the rain and mud putting the teams’ ball-handling skills to test.
Broughton adapted best and ran in a second try before Bury's fightback began, with Welsh battling hard to get the ball over the line.
"The reaction from the crowd and the team was infectious and Bury went on to score again," added Kay.
"The smiles on the faces of both teams through the mud showed what a fantastic game was had by all."
Bury will be travelling to Broughton Park for the return fixture on April 9, and are planning a game against Oldham's new women's team.
At present there are no plans to join a league, but with more and more women's teams starting up, Kay does not believe getting a game will be a problem in the future.
"The big news recently was the launch of the first ever national women's league, with a club from Liverpool, Waterloo, the closest team to us entering that," said Kay.
"Locally, Eccles have the best, most established side.
"They play in a league but we are not up to that standard yet as the majority of the women in our set-up had never played rugby before joining.
"That is changing now with girls starting to play touch rugby at school, but there is still no contact rugby played.
"There are a handful of teams in the area, though, that are at a similar stage to us, including Oldham, Bolton and Burnley, while Rochdale are just setting up a girls' side.
"At Bury, girls can now play in mixed teams from the age of six and then in female-only sides from 12 upwards.
"We are just starting up an under-13s side and have well-established sides at u15s and u18s, with a number of girls in those age groups playing for Lancashire."
Girls and women's teams of all age groups train at Bury's Radcliffe Road ground on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6.45pm to 8.15pm.
Further information is available on the club's Facebook page – search for Bury RUFC Ladies – or by calling Phil Kay on 07768 525317.