York City Knights 32 v 4 Castleford Tigers (Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup)
The Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup roadshow arrived in York over the weekend as the LNER Community Stadium hosted the two semi-final matches. The first match saw the York City Knight entertain Castleford Tigers, whilst the second brought together the two inform teams in the Betfred Women’s Super League as St Helens faced Leeds Rhino’s with all four teams looking to reach the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final.
The Challenge Cup draw has produced two outstanding fixtures for different reasons, the first semi-final will see Kelsey Gentles, Rhiannion Marshall, Tamzin Renouf, Grace Field and Sinead Peach face their former team mates after all five players left Castleford Tigers to join York City Knights at the start of the month. As expected there were a number of flash-points as the former team mates looked to get the result over their former colleagues.
As you would expect with a place in the Betfred Challenge Cup Final available both teams looked really nervous in the opening five minutes of the match, which lead to a number of handling errors and forward passes from both teams. On eight minutes, following another knock-on by Lucey Owen the home side scored their first try and they worked the ball wide on the left to find Savannah Andrade, who went over the line to make it 4-0. Marshall then failed to add the conversion from the touchline leaving the score unchanged.
An excellent kick by Tara-Jane Stanley to restart the match was knocked on by Marshall around the York City twenty meter line. Castleford Tigers looked to increased the pressure on the home side as Stanley ran with the ball to the five meter line, the ball found its way to Shona Hoyle just in front of the posts but the tackle from Grace Field lead to the award of a penalty, which Stanley kicked to make the score 4-2.
On sixteen minutes, Castleford Tigers made another costly error with a forward pass inside their own twenty, York City Knights restarted the game as Sinead Peach found Alisha Clayton who drove forward with the ball before being stopped around the ten meter mark. Peach then started the second set and found Ellie Hendry who was charged down by the Tigers defence around five meters out. Peach then found Katie Langan who went down the middle and straight through the defence for the line to score by the post making it 8-2.
Having scored the conversion to make the score 10-2, the home side then started to put the pressure on the visitors, collecting the ball from the restart before driving the full length of the pitch before Sanderson off loaded the ball to Gentles, who passed three defenders before scoring a try in the corner making the score 14-2. Rhiannion Marshall again missed the conversion attempt from the touchline to leave the score unchanged.
On twenty-five minutes, Castleford Tigers put themselves under more pressure following some more indiscipline, when they gave away two penalties as the Knights went looking for another try. Ellie Hendry had the first attempt to score but she was held up on the line by four Castleford players. Sinead Peach then collected the ball and made a run for the line, but yet again the Castleford defence held firm, in the final set Rhiannion Marshall tried a little kick pass over the top but the ball ran into touch.
Castleford Tigers then had a ten minute spell of possession were they ran the ball and completed a number of full sets, however on each occasion they failed to just make the final pass or they made an error which lead to a knock-on or turnover of the ball. The Tigers were given a lifeline on thirty-six minutes, as York City Knights Emily Farrow received a yellow card and therefore ten minutes in the sin bin for interfering with a Castleford Tiger tap restart.
On thirty-eight minutes, Savannah Andrade collected the ball before running sixty meters going passed four Castleford players to score her second try of the match under the posts to give York City Knights an 18-2 lead. Rhiannion Marshall then scored the conversion to make the half-time score 20-2.
Just five minutes into the second-half and York City Knights extended their lead further as Savannah Andrade collects the ball on the halfway line, before running down the line and skipping passed the full-back to touch down under the posts to make the score 24-2. Once again Rhiannion Marshall made the conversion to increase the score to 26-2.
On the hour mark, York City Knights win the ball back on a turnover as Kelsey Gentles runs across the pitch to the right-hand side before being tackled three meters away from the line. Ashley Hyde then went for the line but once again Lucey Owen made an excellent challenge, then on the second set Rhiannion Marshall looked to go muscle her way under the posts but five Castleford player managed to stop her two meters from the line.
Castleford Tigers best chance of scoring a try came on seventy minutes, as Georgia Roche collected the ball on ten minutes and went for the line only to be stopped unfairly by three knights players as the referee gives a penalty just two meters out. On the second set Tara Stanley try’s to outruns the Knights defence across the full width of the pitch, but she is stopped around three meters from the Line. Hollie Dodd collects the ball on the third set but she is tackled by six Knights players, before the ball is then taken by Lucey Owen who thought she had the ball over the line by the referee awards a turnout saying that Wood and Hyde had defended well and stopped the ball from being touched down – No Try.
York City Knights extended their lead with just four minutes of the match remaining, as Marshall sold the Tigers defence a dummy and bust through three player to go over the line and make the score 30-2. Marshall injured herself whilst scoring the try so Hendry took the conversion and added a further two points to the scoreboard making it 32-2.
Castleford Tigers never gave up and one minute into injury time Tara Stanley collected the ball on the halfway line before running with it to the York city Knights ten meters line were she was tackled unfairly. The referee awarded a penalty which Tara-Jane Stanley took once again scoring to add a further two points leave the final score 32-4.
It was a disappointing afternoon for Castleford Tigers who battled for the whole eighty minutes, but in the end York City Knights were just to strong for them and they will now go on to meet St Helens in the Betfred Challenge Cup Final at Leigh Sport Village on the 5th June 2021.
York City Knights – Hendry, B.Lambert, Hyde, Tiplady, Langan, Innes, Farrow, Clayton, D.Lambert, Sanderson, Stimpson, Halstead, Wood, Marshall, Gentles, Renouf, Andrade, Field, Peach
Castleford Tigers – Backhouse, Bell, Churm, Cudjoe, Dodd, Duffield, Eastwood, Watts, Hetherington, Hoyle, Izumi, Jones, Jordan, Owen, Priestley, Roche, Stanley, Todd, Varley
Attendance – 0 (Behind Closed Doors)