York City Knights Ladies got their 2022 Betfred Women’s Super League campaign off to the best possible start with a 50-6 win over Huddersfield Giants.
Having suffered a defeat in the semi-finals of the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup to the Leeds Rhinos, Lindsay Anfield was hoping to see an improved performance and mentality as the Knights travelled to Huddersfield to start their Women’s Super League season.
A total of nine tries were scored on a sunny Sunday afternoon with Emma Kershaw and Hollie Dodd both picking up braces with the latter picking up the Knights Player of the Match award.
It took just five minutes for the Knights to open the scoring with Kershaw picking up a sinking pass to crash through the Giants’ goal-line defence with Tara Jane Stanley kicking her first of six conversions to give the Knights a 0-6 lead.
Sustained pressure from the Knights saw Olivia Wood power over from short range on the seventeen-minute mark.
The next twenty minutes saw both defences stand strong with York keeping the pressure on the Giants’ defence. The Giants, however, managed to find their way through what has so far this year been a strong Knights defence.
A kick from Giants half-back Frankie Townsend into the in-goal area saw Huddersfield score their only try of the game with the ball being successfully touched down with Townsend herself kicking the conversion to narrow the gap with the Knights still leading 6-10.
As halftime approached, Kershaw went over for her second try of the game after drawing out the Giants’ defence with the centre-for-the-day across the try line to touch down. The unsuccessful conversion still left Anfield’s Ladies ahead with a 6-14 lead.
Lindsay Anfield’s side came out for the second half looking to put the hammer down and get distance between themselves and the Giants and they certainly delivered.
Quick hands and sustained pressure on the hosts’ goalline saw Hollie Dodd cross over for two tries in two minutes with Tara Jane Stanley converting both to give the Knights a 26-6 lead after forty-four minutes.
Another piece of rugby league magic was produced just short of the hour mark, as a team effort saw the ball shipped out wide quickly and efficiently to Georgia Taylor who put on the afterburners to go over the whitewash to make it 6-30. Stanley nailed a pinpoint conversion from the touchline to make it 6-32.
Pressure on the Giants’ defence was the biggest positive of the afternoon as Grace Field powered her way over from short range in the sixty-first minute with Stanley adding the extras to make it 6-38.
Winger Bettie Lambert got herself on the scoresheet, following up a strong showing at the recent Nines Festival to score her first try of the year in the thirteen-player game. Stanley kicked her final conversion of the game to make it 6-44.
A few minutes remained on the stopwatch as Olivia Whitehead scored the try of the game, intercepting a pass and running the full length of the pitch despite the best efforts of two chasing Giants defenders. She converted the final try of the game to give the Knights the two points and complete a convincing 6-50 victory.
HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS WOMEN LINE UP: Phillipa Curley, Albany Coates, Jessica Courtman, Erin Stott, Amelia Brown, Francesca Townend, Lauren Roberts, Jamie-Leigh Bellerby, Bethan Oates, Charlotte Hawkins, Olivia Rowe, Ellie Thompson, Isabella Sykes
INTERCHANGES: Angel Howey, Rebekah Grady, Sienna McPherson, Lois Naidole
TRIES: Francesca Townend
GOALS: Francesca Townend (1/1)
YORK CITY KNIGHTS LINE UP: Tara Jane Stanley, Bettie Lambert, Emma Kershaw, Katie Langan, Olivia Whitehead, Georgie Hetherington, Olivia Gale, Grace Field, Sinead Peach, Olivia Wood, Savannah Andrade, Hollie Dodd, Jasmine Bell.
INTERCHANGES: Emily Farrow, Daisy Sanderson, Matilda Butler, Georgia Taylor
TRIES: Emma Kershaw (5′, 39′) Olivia Wood (17′) Hollie Dodd (42′, 44′) Georgia Taylor (58′) Grace Field (61′) Bettie Lambert (65′) Olivia Whitehead (79′)
GOALS: Tara Jane Stanley 6/7 Olivia Whitehead 1/2
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Hollie Dodd – MG Joinery