York City Knights Ladies this afternoon defeated Wigan Warriors in their Betfred Women’s Super League Play-Off Semi-Final 12-4 at Headingley to seal a first-ever Grand Final appearance!
After securing the League Leaders’ Shield last weekend at the same venue – a trophy they would lift after the full-time hooter of today’s match – Lindsay Anfield’s team returned to West Yorkshire to record a fourth win over Wigan in 2022.
Off the back of last weekend’s victory, Anfield made changes to her team with Bettie Lambert, Emma Kershaw, Kelsey Gentles among those returning to the fold.
Despite those three previous wins this year over the Warriors, they posed a much sterner test this afternoon and, after an attritional first forty minutes, the match remained scoreless with Gentles going closest.
After getting over the line following a great run from Tara Jane Stanley’s good work, the decision was referred to the video official who deemed that Gentles had knocked on over the line.
In the very first set of the second period, though, Anfield’s Knights hit the front with a superb finish from Savannah Andrade, the back-rower powering over would-be Wigan tacklers on the last play of the set to ground. Stanley’s conversion gave the Knights a six-point lead – one she would add a further two to after York were awarded a penalty in kickable range.
Just after the fiftieth minute, the Knights’ superiority was confirmed when Gentles – dangerous throughout – got over in the corner after good play in the middle worked the ball to her flank. The try remained unconverted but the twelve-point lead would prove unassailable for Wigan.
They did get over shortly after the hour mark when Stanley couldn’t deal with a last-tackle kick from the Warriors. French international Laureane Biville was first to the loose ball and went over unopposed. Full-back Georgia Wilson was unable to convert and Wigan couldn’t narrow the gap in the last fifteen minutes with the Knights looking most likely to alter the scoreboard.
Alas, neither could and the celebrations at full-time showed what making the Grand Final meant to Anfield and her team. The joy was clear as the team lifted the League Leaders’ Shield but the players, staff and travelling Knights fans – superb on the road once again – will have their minds on bigger prizes in a fortnight…
York City Knights Line-Up: Tara Jane Stanley, Bettie Lambert, Emma Kershaw, Katie Langan, Kelsey Gentles, Olivia Gale, Georgie Hetherington, Jasmine Bell, Sinead Peach, Olivia Wood, Savannah Andrade, Hollie Dodd, Lacey Owen.
Interchanges: Olivia Whitehead, Elisa Akpa, Leila Bessahli, Matilda Butler
Tries: Andrade (41’), Gentles (51‘)
Goals: Stanley (2/3)
Wigan Warriors Line-Up: Georgia Wilson, Katilin Hilton, Laureane Biville, Anna Davies, Gabrielle Leigh, Rebecca Greenfield, Carys Marsh, Cerys Jones, Anne-Marie Singleton, Jade Gregory-Haselden, Vicky Molyneux, Mary Coleman, Holly Speakman.
Interchanges: Alison Burrows, Freya Hellin, Bethany Hayes, Georgia Lake
Tries: Biville (63’)
Goals: Wilson (0/1)