Hull and Leigh serve up a classic and Saints secure Challenge Cup glory: Women’s RL Round-up

This weekend was a wonderfully big weekend for women’s rugby league in this country.

St Helens Women and York Ladies began a wonderful triple-header yesterday in the Challenge Cup Final. St Helens laid down the gauntlet ahead of the rest of the season with a comprehensive win over York to claim the trophy. They became only the second side to win the trophy after Leeds’ success in 2018 and 2019. It was a delightful occasion and will have certainly inspired many young women.

Meanwhile, sunday saw championship team Hull FC ladies host Leigh Miners at the sports centre of Hull university. The game started off evenly matched, with Hull showing their strength in defence. Eventually, Leigh’s poor completion rate allowed Hull’s new signing and ex Hull Kingston Rovers back rower Alex Parkin to cross for the opening try. The score came from a messy kicking error from Leigh, thus cementing Parkin’s credibility within the team. Fullback Leanne Bagley failed to convert the difficult attempt at goal leaving the halftime score at Hull FC 4 Leigh Miners 0.

Leigh Miners came back after half time scoring with their first try. They then came into themselves and scored a further two tries showing their strength and experience in attack. However, Hull weren’t going to lie down. A solid performance from scrum half Danielle Walter, guided them around the field really well. She put her team into some great field positions which eventually took its toll. Walter’s gave seasoned player Casey Lawson the opportunity to cross the try line. This was shortly followed by a try from prop Davinia Richardson. The game in truth was fairly tight and became a little heated towards the latter end. Both teams gave their all for the last 10 mins and and the final score line didn’t really show the work effort that Hull put in, however it was their kicking that allowed Leigh Miners the win.

There were some stellar performances from players on both teams and a clearly marked and frustrated former Hull KR captain Ruby Magson was unable to showcase her evident talent. With only two points in it, Leigh’s miners secured the win 14 points to 12. Their back rower new to rugby league Katie Walsh gave a commendable performance and was awarded with the Player of the Match by the man in the middle Mike Patterson.

Head coach Nige Johnson said “it’s always hard to come to Hull, we always have a very tight game with them. It did become heated, but we remained calm and came back after their 2 tries. The women knuckled down eventually and enjoyed the game, it’s so good to see the women back on the pitch after everything that has gone on in the last year. We are currently sitting fifth in the league, and we take on Keighley cougars next who have just been promoted into the Championship, they’re a bit of an unknown quantity for us but we are confident, and we won’t rest easy. It’s all about pushing forward.

Player of the match Katie Walsh said: “This is my third rugby league game and my first season playing, I come from a rugby union background, I normally play blindside flanker for Sale 1861. I absolutely love rugby league. It is totally different from union its very strategic and I’m still learning but have great mentors on the pitch to guide me through it. I think we worked together as a team, this group of women on and off the pitch are absolutely wonderful the team cohesiveness and just being able to play with them is an absolute honour”

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