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Report: Valkyrie 92-2 Oulton

York City Knights Ladies sealed their spot in the semi-finals of this year’s Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup with an emphatic victory over Oulton Raidettes at the LNER Community Stadium.

The scoring started early on after an error from the kick off saw Oulton having to drop-out. From the resulting set, Tara Jane Stanley went over for her first try at the LNER before, five minutes later, loose-forward Rhiannion Marshall found her way through a gap. Both conversions saw the Knights lead by twelve after just seven minutes – a lead Lindsay Anfield’s team never looked like relinquishing.

Just before the tenth minute, Savannah Andrade was the beneficiary of the team working the ball to the left flank, going over and rounding under the sticks to extend the lead with Stanley converting her third, this time from bang in front.

Set restarts and great work from Stanley got the Knights into a good position, only for Georgie Hetherington to be stopped short by scrambling Oulton defence.

Just after the quarter-hour mark, though, the lead was extended after great work from Stanley and Olivia Wood got prop Grace Field through from close range.

As the clock passed twenty, Stanley scored her second – and what a great effort it was. After Hetherington found Tamzin Renouf running back against the grain, she found Stanley in support and the full-back stepped past her Oulton counterpart to go over. Her fifth conversion of the half gave Anfield’s team a thirty point lead.

Further great work made it back-to-back tries. With Hetherington darting inside several tackles to get out of the Knights’ forty, a couple of plays later saw Wood break through the right channel to score with Stanley missing her first conversion of the afternoon.

Great passing from Marshall and Bell then got Dodd through a gap, the England international going over from halfway to score under the sticks in the 25th minute which, after Stanley’s conversion, gave the Knights a forty-point lead.

Katie Langan almost got Bettie Lambert in at the corner after a great short-side play, only for the Oulton defence to hold her up. Nevertheless, Peach’s barge over from close-range two plays later extended the lead and, after Stanley’s conversion, gave the Knights a 46-0 lead – and Stanley would add to it minutes later with a sublime effort.

After an early kick from Oulton bounced unfavourably for Stanley, the full-back was just able to gather close to the sideline. She then produced a remarkable sequence of sidesteps to get past the visitors’ defence to go over under the sticks to complete her hat-trick. A conversion from bang in front gave Anfield’s team a healthy 52-0 lead at the break.

The second half started as the first finished with Renouf going over for the Knights’ tenth try of the match.

In the 47th minute, Andrade scored her second after cutting through the middle of the Oulton defence. Olivia Whitehead, on for Stanley, converted to extend the lead to 62-0.

Just after the fifty-minute mark, Ash Hyde went over for her second try in two matches at the LNER this season. Whitehead, from the touchline, was unable to convert to improve the 66-0 lead.

Emma Kershaw then got her name on the scoresheet with an effort from close-range.

The Knights, despite boasting an unassailable lead, never eased on their intense defensive effort and constantly forced Oulton into kicking from deep in their own half.

In the 63rd minute, Stanley – back off the interchange bench and in the centres – broke through tacklers in the Knights’ thirty and went round the full-back to score her fourth. Whitehead converted and the Knights led by seventy-six.

The Ladies made it back to back tries after great work from Dodd broke through tacklers just inside Oulton’s half. With the defence slowing her down, a great offload found Olivia Gale who went over for her first try in Knights colours. Stanley, back on kicking duties, pushed the kick wide of the sticks.

With ten minutes remaining, Oulton forced repeat sets – the first after a knock-on from the kick-off and then a high tackle – but the Knights’ goalline defence brilliantly dealt with the pressure, keeping the visitors at bay.

A further penalty, however, saw Oulton opt to kick for two – Caitlin Casey kicking the penalty, much to the delight of the visiting supporters.

Ash Hyde hit back for the Knights, scoring her second of the afternoon after cutting in from the right flank. Whitehead added the two from in front of the sticks.

Field went over for her second in the 75th minute, crashing through a gap from close-range with Whitehead converting.

A great break from a disguised pass almost got Oulton to the try-line in the dying stages but Stanley was equal to it and able to stop the threat.

Minutes later, the final hooter sounded and saw the Knights through to the semi-finals of the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup once again.

KNIGHTS LINE UP: Tara Jane Stanley, Ash Hyde, Tamzin Renouf, Savannah Andrade, Bettie Lambert, Georgie Hetherington, Katie Langan, Grace Field, Sinead Peach, Jasmine Bell, Olivia Wood, Hollie Dodd, Rhiannion Marshall.

INTERCHANGES: Emma Kershaw, Daisy Sanderson, Olivia Gale, Olivia Whitehead

TRIES: Tara Jane Stanley (2’, 30‘, 38’, 64’), Rhiannion Marshall (7’), Savannah Andrade (9‘, 47’), Grace Field (16‘, 75’), Olivia Wood (24’), Hollie Dodd (26’), Sinead Peach (34’), Tamzin Renouf (42’), Ash Hyde (51’, 73’), Emma Kershaw (58’), Olivia Gale (67’),

CONVERSIONS: Tara Jane Stanley (9/11), Olivia Whitehead (4/6)

OULTON RAIDETTES: Danielle Rose, Brooke Long, Ellie Johnson, Kiah Holmes, Caitlin Casey, Tina Markey, Darcy Westwood, Corralina Morrison, Lucy Ranby, Alice Costello, Emily Fitzpatrick, Leah McFarlane, Kelly Aitken

INTERCHANGES: Kara Moore, Sophie Oram, Avya Smith, Laura Teasdale

PENALTY: Cailtin Casey (70’)

PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Savannah Andrade, sponsored by Prestons Kitchens


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