York City Knights 30 v 24 Wigan Warriors (Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup)
The Mobile Rock Stadium (Wakefield) was this weekend the host venue for two Betfred Challenge Cup Quarter-final matches. The first match which kicked-off at midday was a roses battle between York City Knights Ladies and Wigan Warriors Ladies. The second fixture which kicked-off at three-thirty was a classic Yorkshire derby as Leeds Rhino’s entertained Bradford Bulls as all four sides looked for a place in the semi-finals.
York City Knights Ladies had a busy week leading up to the fixture after they announced seven new signings just forty-eight hours before the match. There was no real issue with the players getting to know each other with five of the players including Kelsey Gentles, Rhiannion Marshall, Tamzin Renouf, Grace Field and Sinead Peach all coming in from Castleford Tigers, whilst Olivia Wood and Savannah Andade joined from Bradford Bulls.
It was the Yorkshire side that started the stronger of the two teams and they took the lead on just three minutes, when Rhiannion Marshall collected a short pass midway inside the Wigan half before going passed four players and flicking the ball back to Grace Field, who touched the ball down under the posts to give York City Knights a four points. Marshall then scored the conversion to add a further two points making the score 6-0.
Wigan Warriors started to come back into the match on ten minute mark keeping control of the ball and putting some pressure on the Knights. On the thirteen minutes, following a good move down the right Davies went over the line to make the score 6-4. Georgia Wilson failed to add to the score missing the conversion to leave York City Knights in front.
York City Knights restarted the game with a kick to the right-hand flank, the Warriors then collected the ball before they carried it just over the halfway line. The ball was then kicked into the middle around the twenty-two line but Kelsey Gentles dropped the ball which run free and was collected by Molyneux. The knights played the ball to the left flank before it was collected by Thompson who went over to make the score 6-8. Georgia Wilson could only send the conversion wide of the right-hand post.
On twenty-two minutes, the Knights were back on top as field and then peach carried the ball to the ten meter line in front of the post. Rhiannion Marshall then worked the ball out to the right-hand side before moving the ball onto Tazmin Renouf who ran at the Warriors before finding Bethany Lambert who want over in the corner. Rhiannion Marshall then added another conversion from a near impossible angle to make it 12-8.
Wigan Warriors started to increase the tempo of the match and they went back in front eight minutes later, when Rebecca Greenfield collected the ball and broke free from the Knights defence to score a try making the score all level at 12-12. Georgia Wilson then added the conversion to edge the Warriors 14-12 in front.
As half-time approached, Wigan were well on top and carrying the ball well over a number of set. The Warriors won a set reset at the halfway line before working the ball forward, the play then switched across field before the ball found its way to Stirzaker who went over the line for another try. Burrows missed the conversion leaving the score 18-12.
York City Knights, produced a great finish to the half as they carried the ball moving it across field before Mel Halstead went over in the corner to bring the game back to 18-16. Rhiannion Marshall then scored another outstanding conversion from the touchline to make the score at half-time 18-18.
York City Knights started the stronger in the second-half much like they did in the first, with high energy and carrying the ball well as they made their way up field. Then on fifty minutes, the Knights took the lead again as Sinead Peach produced a wonderful kick that Grace Field somehow managed to reach to score another try making the score 22-18. Once again Rhiannion Marshall scored another conversion to increase the lead to 24-18.
On sixty-four minutes, this physical, tense, dramatic quarter-final match took another twist as Wigan Warriors drew level again. It was another well worked move which was finished by Rachel Thompson, Georgia Wilson then stepped up and scored the conversion to make the score 24-24.
On the seventy-fifth minute, an excellent run by by Gentles down the right flank side stepping a number of Warriors player, the ball is then worked across field before finding Grace Fields about two yards out and she went under the posts for a hat-trick to make the score 28-24. Rhiannion Marshall then added the conversion to make the final score 30-24.
York City Knights progress to the semi-finals, after what can only be described as fantasic advert for women’s rugby league. It was a Classic Challenge Cup match were both sides gave 100% and sadly there had to be a loser. In terms of player of the match for me there were two contenders, both making their debuts for the club and that was Grace Fields for the hat-trick or Sinead Peach who was outstanding for the whole eighty minutes.
York City Knights will be back in Betfred Super League action against Featherstone Rovers at the weekend, before returning Betfred Challenge Cup Semi-Finals action when they will face Castleford Tigers on the 22nd May 2021.
York City Knights – Gentles, Halstead, Renouf, Andrade, B.Lambert, Marshall, Langan, Clayton, Peach, Field, Wood, Sanderson, Innes, Taylor, D.Lambert, Stimpson, Tiplady, Waterworth, Williams
Wigan Warriors – Greenfield, Wilson, Stirzaker, E.Baggaley, Speakman, Thompson, Burrows, Davies, Marsh, Gregory-Haselden, Temple, Boardman, Molyneux, Costello, Wood, L.Baggaley, Darbyshire
Attendance – 0 (Behind Closed Doors)