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Honor James


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Debutants to the WRLA Winter League this season Leigh East reached their first final and came away with their first piece of silverware the WRLA Plate after defeating last year’s winners York Ladies, playing in their third consecutive Plate Final 44-4 after leading 34-0 nil at the break

Playing some outstanding rugby league East scored eight tries including a brace from Player of the Match Natalie Weaving. East’s loose forward Claire Mullaney had a good day with the boot despite missing her first and last conversion to finish to finish up with six from eight as well as going over for a brace of tries for an individual twenty points during the game.

For York Ladies it wasn’t to be heir day as they battled gamely and gave one hundred per cent not letting their heads drop and deserve red their consolation try scored by Ashleigh Hyde.

Former coach Phil ‘OJ’ Johnson who coached the side when they were first formed in 2009, sadly passed away last year, would have been proud of all of all at the club and pre game there was a minutes applause in his memory, as the last game he was involved with the club was their Plate Final win twelve months earlier.

East got off to a great start and opened the scoring on four minutes when Jeni Camara crossed the whitewash for a 4-0 lead, a lead they were never to lose.

York battled back to get into the game but were undone with three converted tries in a seven minute spell Weaving went over the line on 13 minutes and Mullaney joined her on the try sheet with a brace on 17 and 20 minutes and three conversions for a 22-0 lead.

As much as York tried East were in command and hit them hard in the closing stages of the half, Hayley Spreadborough went over on 35 minutes and a minute before half time Weaving crossed for her second.

When Harriet Widdup went over three minutes after the restart for a converted try to make it 40-0 an avalanche of points was expected but didn’t materialise.

York took the game to East and showed flashes of what a good side they were both in attack and defence and they scored their only points of the game on 63 minutes when Hyde drove over.

East though had the final word in a team performance as centre Widdop went over to complete her double.

LEIGH EAST: Gillian Aspin, Jen Clarke-Pilling, Harriet Widdup, Jeni Camara, Lorraine Ashworth, Faye Gaskin, Lauren Seddon, Katie Dean, Hayley Spreadborough, Natalie Weaving, Jo Aspinall, Keeley Ramsbottom, Claire Mullaney. Subs Jan Eckersley, Jade Aspinall, Bojan Johnson, Becky Blackburn.

Tries: Camera 4, Weaving 13, 39, Mullaney 17, 20, Spreadborough 35, Widdup 43, 76,

Goals: Mullaney 6/8

YORK LADIES: Emilie Hatfield, Zoe Francis, Teri Chu, Hayley Worthington, Ashleigh Hyde, Katie Langan, Lauren Powell, Natalie Hilton, Cody Tissiman, Claire Viney, Chelsea Moore, Bev Langan. Subs: Kay Rollison, Kelly Hall, Rachael Harrower, Carly Hilton.

Tries: Hyde 63,

Half-time: 34-0

Player of the Match: Natalie Weaving (Leigh East)

Referee: Paul Mortimer

Touch Judges: Lindsay Trelford, Matt Rigby

Attendance: 400



In the oldest women’s cup competition in the world WRLA returnee’s Bradford Thunderbirds who are chasing a league and cup double landed their first piece of silverware on their return to the fold, with 28-10 victory over Castleford Panthers Ladies after leading 12-6 at the break, in front of a huge vociferous crowd at the home of Rochdale Mayfield ARLFC.

The Panthers were undone in the opening seven minutes of the second half with a brace of ties and a conversion to make it 22-6, and when player of the match fullback Charlotte Booth added her second try on the hour to go with her side’s opener, the game was won.

The Panthers though battled gamely on in a great advert for women’s rugby league and the holders had the last word when they scored with twelve minutes remaining.

Both sides tested each other out in the early stages but the Thunderbirds were go on seven minutes when Booth registered the first try of the game and Lisa Taylor kicked the first of her four conversions from five attempts.

It then became an arm wrestle and war of attrition as both defences showed their true metal as the Panthers came back into the game and they deservedly levelled the game up on 32 minutes when scrum half Hayley Fielding saw a gap to go through and score and Ayleisha O’Neill added the extras.

Just as the crowd were anticipating a level ball game at halftime the Thunderbirds had other ideas and struck on 37 minutes as Amy Hardcastle went over for a six pointer.

It was important for Panthers to score next but they were hit with a Thunderbirds double whammy with two tries in four minutes. On 43 minutes Paige Costello struck for a converted try and from the restart and bout of possession Hardcastle added her second on 47 minutes which went unconverted to give her side a sixteen point lead.

The Thunderbirds were in total control the game being played in the Panthers half and the pressure turned into points on 60 minutes as Booth went over for another six pointer.

Both sides continued to press as the Panthers wouldn’t lie down and they deservedly for their rewards went over for the final points of the game, an unconverted try by Brogan Churm.

BRADFORD THUNDERBIRDS: Charlotte Booth, Lesley Bowling, Tara Yarrow, Manina Spurr, LisaTaylor, Danielle Bose, Lauren Hickey, Joanne Ollershaw, Stacey Wilson, Paige Costello, Vickki Gillen, Dani Swaine, Amy Hardcastle. Subs: Debbie Smith, Sarah Ashton, Lyndsey Cunnett.

Tries: Booth 7, 60, Hardcastle 37, 47, Costello 43

Goals: 4/5

CASTLEFORD PANTHERS LADIES: Jodie Davies, Amy Sharpe, Ayleisha O’Neill, Chloe Sykes, Grace Winter, Sam Boyes, Hayley Fielding, Ashley Rice, Nikki Harrison, Grace Field, Brogan Churm, Larisa Deaves, Ellie Smith. Subs: Jess Lord, Helen Sheldon, Jess Neale, Kate Billingham.

Tries: Fielding 32, Churm 68

Goals: O’Neill 1/2

Half-time: 12-6

Player of the Match: Charlotte Booth (Bradford Thunderbirds)

Referee: Jason Woodman

Touch Judges: Lindsay Trelford, Matt Rigby

Attendance: 400

Minimum Oder DVD/Video of the game including commentary & slow-mo’s from:

Alpha Photography, 63, Dale Street, Milnrow.

Tel. No: 01706 642446 / 07973 735570.

Steve Manning

for WRLA

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