Women’s Rugby League round-up: Leeds Rhinos snatch huge victory over St Helens


A last-minute try from Leeds’ England international Fran Goldthorp settled a pulsating Women’s Super League encounter on Thursday evening.

It crowned an excellent fightback from the Rhinos, who were 14-0 adrift after 23 minutes.

St Helens opened the scoring three minutes in, on the back of a superb run from Shona Hoyle. Play then went down the left and Jodie Cunningham pierced the defence. It proved too far out for Beth Stott to convert and Saints had another chance three minutes later when Zoe Harris dummied and split the defence but her offload was a loose one and Leeds recovered possession.

As the rain fell, Leeds advanced steadily and chased well on the back of a couple of Georgia Roche kicks. However, Saints soaked the pressure up and then roared down the ground again.

Channy Crowl lost the ball in a tackle in the 13th minute to hand Leeds their best field position but great defence from Leah Burke forced an error from Caitlin Beevers.

Saints scored their second try after 19 minutes on the back of a superb run from Vicky Whitfield. This time Harris got through after an offload from Naomi Williams. Stott couldn’t goal but Saints led 8-0. It was soon 12-0 when unselfish hands from Becca Rotheram released Amy Hardcastle and the left centre finished strongly. This time Harris goaled for a 14-0 advantage.

The Rhinos kept their heads and rallied on the back of some strong running from the likes of Dannielle Anderson, Elle Frain and Zoe Hornby and they added two tries in the twelve minutes before half-time.

First, Caitlin Beevers found her way to the line and she was followed by sprightly dummy-half play by Jasmine Cudjoe, who was able to evade a couple of tacklers on the line to dive over. Winfield-Hill added one goal to make it 14-10 to the hosts at half-time.

The Rhinos made a strong start to the second half when Fran Goldthorp carved through the line after three minutes. Winfield Hill couldn’t convert and the game was locked at 14-14.

Saints then put pressure on the Rhinos’ line but the visitors held firm. A good run from Paige Travis seemingly put Saints on the front foot again but an error created uncertainty and Leeds went close before losing the ball themselves.

The next scoring opportunity went the way of Saints at the other end and it took all Leeds’ know-how and bravery to hold Carrie Roberts at bay.

Despite losing Whitfield to a game-ending injury on the hour, St Helens struck what they thought was the decisive blow after 62 minutes when Tara Jones scored from dummy-half. Harris couldn’t convert but Saints now led 18-14.

Saints thought they had scored another try through Eboni Partington four minutes later, but it was disallowed after a video review because of a double movement – Roche coming up with a textbook tackle to ground Partington short.

At the other end Partington came up with an error but Leeds lost Roche to a head-injury assessment and the Rhinos couldn’t take advantage. Travis had a try ruled out thanks to some brilliant goal-line defence as the game ebbed into the final stages.

Then in the last minute, Leeds claimed the match-winner. Winfield-Hill kicked through the middle for Goldthorp, who twice dabbed ahead before collecting, sending the defence left and right, and diving under the posts. Winfield-Hill tagged on the winning goal points for the Rhinos, while Saints contemplate their second defeat of the league season.


YORK CITY KNIGHTS maintained their 100 percent start to the season with a 46-0 win over WIGAN WARRIORS.

Emma Kershaw led the way with a hat-trick as York crossed for nine tries against the 2018 champions.

It was Kershaw who opened the scoring after just three minutes as she powered her way over at the end of the City Knights’ first attacking play.

Tamzin Renouf sidestepped the Warriors defence to cut inside and score York’s second, which was swiftly followed by Kershaw’s second.

Tara Stanley missed all three first-half conversions as the City Knights went in 12-0 to the good at the break.

The visitors to Robin Park really cut loose in the second half, and just minutes after the restart Georgia Taylor was able to stride over the line with ease.

Hollie Dodd followed up her try for England last weekend with one for her club, which Stanley converted to get herself on the scoresheet.

Sinead Peach, Savannah Andrade and Stanley all added tries before Kershaw completed her treble.

Stanley added four more conversions as York further extended their lead at the top of the table.

In Group 2, BARROW RAIDERS continued to find their feet in Super League with a 46-10 win over CASTLEFORD TIGERS.

The game was only five minutes old when the ball was worked out to Raiders fullback Michelle Larkin, who dived over for the opening score. Jodie Litherland missed the conversion, but was on target ten minutes later when Claire Hutchinson supplied Kerrie-Ann Smith with the pass she needed to storm over the line.

Vanessa Temple added a quick-fire double to help put the Raiders 22-0 up with less than half an hour gone, before the visitors got a first-half consolation score through Verity Randall, converted by Chloe Smith.

The second half was once again dominated by the hosts with Demi Fisher crashing over ten minutes after the restart, before Temple completed her hat-trick with a 25 metre run.

Tries from Emily Stirzaker and Sarah Wilkinson but Barrow even further ahead before Randell got her, and the Tigers’ second.

Christina Tully flew in wide out on the stoke of full-time and Litherland finished with five goals as Barrow made it three wins running.

FEATHERSTONE ROVERS kept up the pace at the top of the league with a 34-4 win over LEIGH MINERS RANGERS.

Zoe Teece got the scoring underway when she took an Olivia Grace pass to find a gap in the defence and race in under the sticks, giving Fran Copley an easy conversion.

Grace then went from provider to scorer to double the Rovers’ lead within quarter of an hour.

Olivia Howarth extended Featherstone’s advantage further when Chloe Billington put her in wide out for her first try for the club.

Again the provider soon got her own score, with Billington crossing on the half-hour mark.

Hannah Watt wrapped up a successful first 40 minutes for the hosts with a long-range try, well worked direct from a scrum.

It was more of the same in the second half for Featherstone with Brogan Kennedy scoring under the sticks shortly after the restart.

Robyn Bell-Soppelsa crossed out wide to get the Rangers on the scoresheet, but it was too little too late for the visitors and Charley Blackburn added a seventh try for Rovers, for whom Copley kicked three goals.

BRADFORD BULLS and WARRINGTON WOLVES, who started the day level on points with Featherstone at the top of the table, met at Odsal in an evening kick-off, with both looking to keep their winning runs intact.

Full details of the game were not known when at the time of going to press, but they will appear in next week’s issue.

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