York City Knights 18 v 20 Castleford Tigers (Betfred Women’s Super League)
Having lost to York City Knights last weekend in the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup semi final, Castleford Tigers were looking for revenge as the two teams met again this weekend at Weetwood Sports Centre in the Betfred Women’s Super League. The York City Knights made a number of changes looking forward to the Challenge Cup Final next weekend, this included playmaker Kelsey Gentles, whilst Castleford Tigers also had a key player missing in Shona Hoyle through injury.
It was a very even start to the match as both teams enjoying a good amount of possession whilst creating a number of chances in attack. On seven minutes, Castleford should have taken the lead when Eva Izumi broke down the left wing before passing the ball to Roche but unfortunately she knocked the ball on just in front of the try line.
On ten minutes, the visitors opened the scoring as Jasmine Cudjoe identified a numbers advantage on the left hand side of the field. Having worked the ball across the pitch a late pass to Hollie Dodd who scored in the left corner to make the score 4-0. Tara Jane Stanley missed the conversion kick and failed to add to the score.
York City Knights then came back into the game and were close to getting onto the score sheet but for the excellent defensive set from Castleford. As the Knights got to within ten meters of the line on their fifth tackle, the Knights kicked the ball over the line and chased for a try, but the ball ran out of play handing the ball back to Castleford Tigers.
The Knights drew level on twenty minutes, when a penalty for an apparent strip of the ball gave York City some good ball position. Castleford defence keep the Knights out near the line holding up Rhiannion Marshall. However, on the next set Sinead Peach found a big gap in the Castleford defensive line and she went over the line to make it 4-4. Rhiannion Marshall missed the conversion to leave the scores level.
Castleford Tigers extended their lead on thirty-four minutes, as the Tigers worked the ball to the left-hand side of the pitch were Hollie Dodd was left one-on-one. However, despite the valiant defensive effort from Tamzin Renouf it was Dodd’s that cross the line to make the score 4-8. Tara Jane Stanley stepped up to take the conversion but once again she was unable to add to the scoreline.
Castleford Tigers extended their lead just four minutes later, as the ball was worked out to the right hand side were Kaitlin Varley collected the ball before going over the line in the corner to make the score 4-12. Tara Stanley sent the conversion wide of the posts to leave the half time score 4-12.
After an inspirational half-time team talk by the York City Knights management team the squad made an instant impact and scored a try in the first minute of the second-half. The Knights collected the ball from kick-off, after the bounce went in favour of the home side worked the ball well and found Rhiannion Marshall who crashed over the line to score closing the gap to 8-12. But, Marshall missed the conversion to leave the score unchanged.
Castleford restarted the match with the kick-off which this time lead to an error by York City Knights which allowed the Tigers to collect the ball near the line. Georgia Roche goes to the short side twice and on the second attempt she managed to slide over the try line to score in the corner. It was not a great day for kicking and the conversion was missed again leaving the score 8-16.
This was now turning into an outstanding rugby league match as York City Knights scored another try just five minutes later. Some incredible footwork from Rhiannon Marshall as she worked her way to the line to score another try, she then added the conversion to make the score 14-16.
On sixty-eight minutes, the Knights looked to have taken the lead as Sinead Peach makes an excellent run from dummy half through the Castleford defence before going over the try line. However, the referee made a controversial decision and said no try due to a knock-on before awarding the ball to Castleford for a new set behind their own twenty meter line.
Just two minutes later, Tara Jane Stanley collected the ball before running around sixty meters before handing the ball off to Lucy Eastwood who completed the move going over the try line in the corner to make the score 14-20. Stanley missed the conversion to leave the score unchanged with just ten minutes left in the match.
York City Knights were now putting the visitors under massive pressure as they looked to score a try to bring the score leave. On seventy and seventy-three minutes the home side worked the ball to the try line, but some excellent defensive work from the Tigers kept the Knights out on both occasions.
On seventy-five minutes, York City Knights received back-to-back sets near the Castleford try line. Some excellent play led to Alisha Clayton powering over by the whitewash to score bring the score to 18-20. The Knights needed to make the conversion to bring the scores level, but Ellie Hendry put the pressure kick wide of the post leaving the Tigers in front.
Unfortunately, Castleford Tigers Lucy Eastwood was injured in the move which lead to the Clayton try. Having made the initial tackle she was trapped on the bottom of the pile as a number of players went over for the try and as the players moved away it was clear that Eastwood had a serious head or neck injury. Eastwood received around twenty minutes medical attention from the club doctor and physio, before being stretched off and taken to hospital for further treatment.
Castleford Tigers showed excellent game management in the last five minutes of the match as they controlled the ball, winning a number of new sets inside the York City Knights half and by keeping the ball it meant the Knights were unable to score and the visitors went onto win the match 18-20. This match was an excellent advert for Women’s Rugby League, the match had drama, tension, emotion and there were a number of players on both sides had outstanding performance including Alisha Clayton, Ellie Hendry, Sinead Peach, Rhiannion Marshall, Tara Jane Stanley and Georgia Roche
York City Knights will now turn their attention to the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final as they prepare to face St Helens in Leigh next weekend. It would be an outstanding achievement for the Knights to win the Challenge Cup Final against a strong St Helens side especially after all of the changes to the playing staff over the last month.
York City Knights – Hardy, Taylor, Renouf, Andrade, Halstead, Marshall, Langan, Clayton, Peach, Field, Wood, Sanderson, Hendry, Tiplady, Innes, Lambert, Stimpson
Castleford Tigers – Stanley, Varley, Owen, Dodd, Izumi, Eastwood, Roche, Churm, Backhouse, Bell, Duffield, Cudjoe, Watts
Attendance – 0 (Behind Closed Doors)