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St Helens 32-2 York Valkyrie - Match Report



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York Valkyrie were denied an appearance in the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final after a 32-2 defeat to trophy holders St Helens at Doncaster’s Eco-Power Stadium.


Leah Burke’s try put St Helens narrowly at front at half-time before scores from Darcy Stott, Emily Rudge, Georgia Sutherland and a Phoebe Hook double inspired victory for Saints.


The defeat saw York fall short in the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Semi-Finals for the second year against St Helens, with the Valkyrie hampered by the absence of former Woman of Steel Tara Jane Stanley through illness.


St Helens made the stronger start and went in front inside eight minutes when Faye Gaskin slotted over a simple penalty goal after Alex Stimpson was penalised for a high tackle on Tara Jones.


The Valkyrie fought back to dominate the first-half territory battle thereafter with Emma Kershaw and Eboni Partington both coming close before being put into touch down the right and left edges respectively.


Saints showed their class, particularly through their kicking game, as Zoe Harris delivered a 40/20 and moments later a neat shift of hands to the left corner put Burke over the whitewash.


Gaskin was unable to land the conversion, leaving the reigning Cup holders 6-0 up at the break.


Matty Smith’s side picked up from where they left off early in the second half when Darcy Stott crashed over to the right of the sticks from Jodie Cunningham’s short ball. Gaskin converted, her first of three conversions from six attempts.


Rhiannion Marshall cut the gap for York through a penalty goal in response but Saints were further in front 10 minutes later when Rudge cut back inside to barge over.


After the hour mark, clever work down the right edge put Hook in the clear, allowing the winger to cut back inside to finish.


Saints managed to finish on a flourish, going over twice in the final five minutes. Hook completed her brace with Erin Stott tipped on Harris’ wide pass to the right corner before Sutherland wrapped up the scoring with a late solo effort down the left flank.


St Helens: Salihi, Hook, E. Stott, McColm, Burke, Harris, Gaskin, Whitfield, Jones, Crowl, Travis, Rudge, Cunningham


Subs (all used): Williams, D. Stott, Mottershead, Sutherland


18th Player: Birchall


Tries: Burke (30’), D. Stott (42’), Rudge (56’), Hook (63’, 75’), Sutherland (78’)


Goals: Gaskin (4/7)


York: Hetherington, Partington, Renouf, Roberts, Kershaw, Rihari, Eastwood, Wood, Wilton, Stimpson, Owen, Andrade, Bell


Subs (all used): Marshall, Gentles, Sanderson, Sharp


18th Player: Hendry


Goals: Marshall (1/1)


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