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When it comes to Women’s Super League it doesn’t get any bigger than a clash between St Helens and the Leeds Rhinos, the top two sides in the game with league leaderships, championships and challenge cup wins between them and a dress rehearsal for next months Challenge Cup Final at Wembley.

Old rivalries were renewed in a match which the bookies struggled to find a favourite, edging towards the home side based on their home advantage.

The game was a curtain raiser for the men’s Super League game to be played this evening but there was every chance that this would be a more thrilling, exciting, and closer match than the one kicking off at eight o’clock.

Sophie Robinson was held up over the line on three minutes after a Beri Salhi error gifted the Rhinos the ball on the Saints twenty, but Saints weathered the storm.

The first points came on twenty-three, somewhat against the run of play, when Faye Gaskin kicked a penalty goal from ten metres after a Rhinos high tackle.

The first four pointer was a brilliant solo effort from Gaskin as found a gap twenty form the Leeds line and swatted away Liz Whitehead’s attempted challenge to score by the left upright. Gaskin added the extras to put Saints 8-0 ahead.

When Leeds were caught offside on their own ten on thirty-eight Gaskin again found the target with the boot to extend the lead to 10-0 at half time in a game where the Rhinos had dominated for the first twenty.

On fifty-four the Rhinos were back in the game when Keara Bennett pushed for the line and forced the ball down onto the line. She added the conversion to her own try, off both posts, Leeds back within four points of their hosts.

The Rhinos were back in control and laying siege to the Saints line, but great Saints defence kept them at bay.

A ball steal by the Rhinos gifted Gaskin a fourth goal of the evening of seventy-one to extend the leading margin to six points, again against the run of play for the last twenty minutes.

Leeds were hammering the Saints line in the dying minutes but again the Saints defence held firm to frustrate the Rhinos and secure a six point win.

It was as close as the pre-match hype promised with Saints defence being exemplary in holding out the Rhinos attack to take the win and join Leeds and York at the top of the table, although York now have a game in hand. It bodes well for an excellent cup final in a couple of weeks’ time with two great sides gracing Wembley for the Challenge Cup final, the Rhinos looking for revenge for today’s loss.

St Helens: Salhi, Hook, Stott E, McColm, Burke, Harris, Gaskin (T, 4/4 G), Whitfield, Jones, Crowl, Travis, Rudge, Cunningham. Subs: Williams, Stott D, Birchall, Mottershead. 18th Man: Sutherland. 

Leeds Rhinos: Whitehead, Robinson, Beevers, Hardcastle, Cousins, Butcher, Casey, Field, Bennett (T 1/1 G), Northrop, Murray, Sykes, Donnelly.  Subs: Moxon, Hornby, Greening, Lockwood. 18th Man: Watson.

Half-Time: 10-0.

Full-Time: 12-6.

Score Progression: 2-0, 6-0, 8-0, 10-0 :HT: 10-4, 10-6, 12-6 :FT.

Lead Exchanges: St Helens.

Referee: Luke Bland.  

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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Fri 24th May 2024 7:16 PM | Views : 4787 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES