York City Knights Ladies rounded off their home matches in this year’s Betfred Women’s Super League with a 33-10 victory over Wigan Warriors at the LNER Community Stadium.
In the sweltering heat, Director of Rugby Lindsay Anfield named three French debutants in her matchday seventeen, owing to an injury-crisis that left the Knights with only fourteen fit players.
As it turned out, a fourth one had to come into the squad with Tamzin Renouf a late withdrawal after picking up a knee injury in the warm-up. That meant Leila Bessahli joined Margot Canal, Anais Fourcroy and Elisa Akpa in the squad after their recent arrival from Catalans Dragons.
The Knights, looking for a victory that would leave their destiny in their own hands regarding lifting the League Leaders’ Shield, needed a win and an early Savannah Andrade try got them on their way. Running a great reverse line, the second-rower found her way to the touchline in the fifth minute. Tara Jane Stanley, lining up in the halves, converted.
Sinead Peach then provided two similar assists, her dummy-half grubber kicks being grounded by Hollie Dodd and Stanley adding to the Knights lead. A conversion on the former from the latter gave Anfield’s team a 16-0 lead after the first quarter.
Against a Wigan side that the Knights had already nilled twice in emphatic victories this year, some may have thought that the Warriors would roll over for another comprehensive York win. In the final twenty of the first period, however, it became clear that wasn’t to be the case.
First, French international Laureane Biville went over for the Warriors before, in the dying moments of the first half, Georgia Wilson narrowed the deficit further. A conversion from Wilson saw the Knights’ lead cut to just six points at the break.
Out early for the second period after a big team-talk, the Knights scored the first points and went on to nil Wigan in the last forty.
After going close moments previously, centre Emma Kershaw fashioned space for herself to score after a neat dummy. Ten minutes later, co-captain Katie Langan ran a great line to ghost through the Warriors’ defence to take the game away from the visitors.
Stanley’s conversion gave the Knights a 26-10 lead shortly after the hour mark, one that was added to five minutes later with prop Daisy Sanderson finding her way to the try-line. Stanley, again converted before, in the dying moments of the encounter, kicking a drop-goal to give the Knights a 33-10 victory.
York City Knights Line-Up: Olivia Whitehead, Margot Canal, Ash Hyde, Emma Kershaw, Georgia Taylor, Tara Jane Stanley, Katie Langan, Matilda Butler, Sinead Peach, Daisy Sanderson, Savannah Andrade, Hollie Dodd, Jasmine Bell.
Interchanges: Kelsey Gentles, Elisa Akpa, Anais Fourcroy, Leila Bessahli
Tries: Andrade (5’), Dodd (17’), Stanley (21‘), Kershaw (49‘), Langan (61‘), Sanderson (65‘)
Conversions: Stanley (4/6)
Drop-Goals: Stanley (80‘)
Wigan Warriors: Georgia Wilson, Kaitlin Hilton, Laureane Biville, Anna Davies, Molly Jones, Rebecca Greenfield, Carys Marsh, Holly Speakman, Abbie Singleton, Cerys Jones, Eva Hunter, Mary Coleman, Sinead Doria.
Interchanges: Jade Gregory-Haselden, Gabrielle Leigh, Bethany Hayes, Jodie Morris
Tries: Biville (23’), Wilson (38’)
Conversions: Wilson (1/2)
Player of the Match: Savannah Andrade – Prestons Kitchens