Lionesses take control



The Lionesses will, barring an astonishing result in the final game of the series, top the 2016 Women’s Associations Cup table, following a comfortable win over GB Teachers at the weekend…



Wigan St Patrick’s, Sunday




THE Lionesses have assumed a stranglehold on the 2016 Women’s Associations Cup after posting a second victory in the competition.

The holders will head into their final game, against English Universities & Colleges at Featherstone Rovers on Sunday 10 June, aware that only a defeat of unprecedented proportions can thwart their ambitions of retaining the title.

The Students, in fact, must win by 46 clear points to head the standings on points’ difference.

GB Teachers, meanwhile, will face the Armed Forces in the other game in the double header at Featherstone in a battle to avoid the wooden spoon, but in the knowledge that they will have to lose by 23 points to finish bottom of the pile.

The Lionesses started strongly against the Teachers, with winger Sarah Dunn crossing after only three minutes.

GB Teachers kept their opponents at bay for the rest of the opening quarter, but a touchdown for second row Natalie Harrowell heralded a three-try salvo in the space of 12 minutes which effectively settled the issue.

Centre Sarah Harrison bagged a brace in the blitz, with stand-off Katie Cooper-Birkenhead adding a couple of goals to help the Lionesses to a 20-0 lead on 36 minutes.

Substitute Gemma Walsh and winger Kayleigh Bulman added touchdowns within 10 minutes of the restart before the Teachers, to their credit, replied on 52 minutes through winger Sammi Simpson, scrum-half Faye Gaskin adding the extras.

The sides went on to trade tries in the final quarter, scrum-half Jenny Welsby crossing for the Lionesses and Cooper-Birkenhead improving, while centre Shona Hoyle responded for the Teachers.

LIONESSES: Katie Hepworth, Sarah Dunn, Sarah Harrison, Amy Hardcastle, Kayleigh Bulman, Katie Cooper-Birkenhead, Jenny Welsby, Regan Walker, Lois Forsell, Lizzie Gladman, Rhiannon Marshall, Natalie Harrowell, Andrea Dobson. Subs: Danielle Anderson, Brogan Churm, Dani Bound, Gemma Walsh.

TEACHERS: Meganne Summers, Sammi Simpson, Shona Hoyle, Larisa Deaves, Laura Teasdale, Emma Ryan, Faye Gaskin, Lauren Hickey, Clare Thompson, Sarah Lovejoy, Stacey White, Chantelle Crowl, Emily Rudge. Subs: Kath Organ, Stephanie Grenham, Amy Johnson, Laura Stanworth.

Referee: Sam Houghton



THE Students staged a remarkable recovery from 12 points down early in the second half to retain a mathematical hope of closing on top of the pile.

Winger Kelsey Gentles opened the Universities’ account after only two minutes, but the rest of the opening period went the way of the Armed Forces.

Loose forward Jade Newman replied some five minutes later and added a second touchdown four minutes before the break, with stand-off Sophie Gale adding her second conversion.

Things got even better for the Forces when Newman swept over seven minutes after the restart for her hat-trick score. But that proved to be her side’s last acquaintance with the scoreboard.

The Students blasted back immediately, Chloe Richardson charging over within a minute.

Substitute Tara Stanley added a try on 51 minutes and converted her own score and with the issue now swinging their way, England Universities restored parity on 65 minutes when Stanley landed a penalty.

The same player edged her side in front eight minutes later with a field goal, and any hopes the Armed Forces may have harboured of rescuing the situation evaporated when Student hooker Sinead Peach burrowed over in the next set.

STUDENTS: Emma Warrington, Kelsey Gentles, Shanelle Mannion, Alex Wallace, Georgia Cutt, Tara Jones, Carys Marsh, Emma Slowe, Sinead Peach, Beth Weir, Bess Courtman, Chloe Richardson, Amy Gilbert. Subs: Tara Stanley, Georgia Hetherington, Olivia Critchley, Sammi Watts.

ARMED FORCES: Sarah Ashton, Adikuini Nayacatabu, Emily White, Emma Swanton, Elicha Watson, Sophie Gale, Christina Gibson, Stacie Hargrave, Toni Tomkins, Kelly Jay, Laura Latimer, Alice Fisher, Jade Newman. Subs: Maria Waghorn, Carina Reeves, Harriet Clapp, Jo Nawagavou.

Referee: Andy Marsh



Sunday 10 July 2016

GB Teachers v GB Armed Forces (1.00pm)

Lionesses v England Universities & Colleges (3.00pm)

At Featherstone Rovers

P W D L F A Diff PTS
Lionesses 2 2 0 0 100 10 90 4
England Students 2 1 0 1 31 32 -1 2
GB Teachers 2 1 0 1 26 48 -22 2
GB Armed Forces 2 0 0 2 16 83 -67 0