TEENAGER Jodie Ounsley was part of rugby union history as she played in the Yorkshire RFU women’s side that lifted the Gill Burns County Championship trophy on Sunday afternoon.
The Dewsbury-born winger was the youngest player in the Yorkshire senior side that beat Surrey 52-0 at Twickenham.
And Yorkshire made history in becoming the first team to win the County Championship at the national stadium.
Jodie, who is profoundly deaf, was fitted with a cochlear implant shortly after her first birthday.
The 17-year-old from Thornhill was born prematurely, with the antibiotics used to treat her causing profound deafness in both ears.
However, that has not prevented her from becoming one of the youngest players to represent the White Rose county at senior level.
The Sandal RUFC winger scored in the 52-0 win over Surrey after only being on the pitch a matter of minutes.
She gathered the ball out wide and scythed her way through the Surrey back line before racing under the posts.
“I had my dream start, I had only been on the pitch a minute and with my first touch of the ball I scored a try from the halfway line,” said Jodie.
“Playing at Twickenham was an amazing experience, it is the ultimate place to play for any English rugby player.
“It was my debut for the Yorkshire senior women’s team, I was the baby of the team at 17.
“The minimum age is generally 18, so we had to meet a few requirements to get approval to play.
“I love playing rugby and representing my county makes it extra special, it always gives me that extra boost to try and do well for the team.”
Last month, Jodie was part of the England women’s team that won the inaugural World Deaf 7s in Australia.
The day previous to her trip Down Under, she made her debut for England Under-18s and marked it with a try against Wales at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
The 17-year-old is also a five-time junior world champion in coal carrying, a British Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion and has represented Great Britain at the Deaflympics in Turkey.
Jodie will return to Twickenham this weekend to take part in the HSBC 7s World Series. “I’m back at Twickenham again this weekend, I’m playing in an elite Under-18s women’s 7s final for Loughborough College v Hartpury College,” added Jodie.
“It’s an exciting time for me, I seem to be getting lots of amazing opportunities to play rugby and I hope this will lead to a full-time playing career.”