York City Knights fell to their first defeat of the season but came away with their heads held high in St Helens despite being on the wrong end of a 12-4 defeat.
After winning the inaugural Women’s Nines competition last weekend in Salford, the Knights travelled back to the North West to take on rivals Saints in the Betfred Women’s Super League.
It was the hosts who got off to the best possible start when a high kick by half-back Zoe Harris confused the defence and was not dealt with. Harris was first to the loose ball and touched down under the sticks inside the first minute. Stott converted to make it 6-0.
Pressure from both sides on each other’s defence was the order of the day with the Stanley making another crucial defensive play tackling the Saints winger who looked set to beat her in a one-on-one contest, only for the England star to come out on top.
Shortly after the half hour mark, the Knights added themselves to the scoresheet.
As seen in recent weeks, the Knights attacked down the middle channel, getting the ball to Stanley. The full back put in a trademark sidestep to trick the Saints’ defence and opened up the play on the touchline with Ash Hyde making a perfect run onto an offload from the full-back. Stanley missed her conversion as the score remained 6-4.
Saints held a two-point lead at the interval against a Knights team missing a handful of first-teamers.
Sustained pressure and momentum remained with St Helens and the hosts scored a crucial try to extend their lead – a lead that would prove too much for the Knights.
On the back of three repeat sets and good composure, Saints managed to get the ball to Tara Jones who found a gap in the Knights’ defensive line in the 50th minute with Bethany Stott converting to make it 12-4.
The Knights had an opportunity to hit back after a Sinead Peach break through the middle found Tamzin Renouf with an oflload. The centre’s pass to winger Bettie Lambert, though, was knocked on.
However, despite their strong defensive showing, Lindsay Anfield’s team could not find the try line and fell to a 12-4 defeat their first of the Betfred Women’s Super League season but the Knights still sit top of the table.
St Helens Line-Up: Rebecca Rotherham, Leah Burke, Amy Hardcastle, Carrie Roberts, Eboni Partington, Zoe Harris, Bethany Stott, Isabelle Rudge, Tara Jones, Chantelle Crowl, Naomi Williams, Emily Rudge, Jodie Cunningham.
Interchanges: Victoria Whitfield, Alice Sandman, Paige Travis, Rachael Woosey.
Tries: Harris (1′), Jones (49′)
Goals: Stott (2/2)
York City Knights Line-Up: Tara Jane Stanley, Bettie Lambert, Tamzin Renouf, Emma Kershaw, Ash Hyde, Lacey Owen, Olivia Gale, Jasmine Bell, Sinead Peach, Olivia Wood, Hollie Dodd, Savannah Andrade, Katie Langan.
Interchanges: Daisy Sanderson, Olivia Whitehead, Matilda Butler, Emily Farrow.
Tries: Hyde (31′)
Goals: Stanley 0/1