Ex-Burnley RUFC player makes history with the Royal Navy at Twickenham

A former Burnley RUFC player and Blessed Trinity RC High School pupil made history when featuring in the 18th instalment of the Army-Navy women’s fixture.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Elona Bythell, 21, joined the Navy at the age of 16 as an Engineering Technician and has been an active member of the squad since earning her first cap and being awarded "The Most Improved Player" prize in 2019.

Elona, who is set to embark on a tour of South Africa with her team-mates, played in front of nearly 60,000 spectators as Twickenham hosted the fixture for the very first time. Until now, the women’s matches had been contested at nearby Kneller Hall.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Lieutenant Olivia Critchley-Peddle, a safety manager for the Wildcat helicopter team at Yeovilton and a scrum-half for the Royal Navy, said: “It’s the epitome of English rugby to play at Twickenham and the fact the men have always had the Army-Navy match at Twickenham, and we’ve always played outside at Kneller Hall, it’s like we’ve been a second-class team. When in reality the standard of some of the women players is higher than the men.”

Isabella Bythell was also a mascot for the Royal Navy on the day as The Army triumphed 68-0 to lift the Babcock Trophy and propel themselves to the top of the Inter-Services world.

Related topics: