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York Valkyrie 20-16 St Helens - Match Report

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York Valkyrie kicked off the defence of their Betfred Women’s Super League (BWSL) title with a thrilling 20-16 victory over rivals St Helens at the LNER Community Stadium.

Carrie Roberts, Emma Kershaw and Tamzin Renouf tries put York 12-0 up at half time, but Saints fought back to lead 16-14 heading into the final couple of minutes thanks to scores from Katie Mottershead, Leah Burke and Rachael Woosey.

But ex-Saint Roberts found the match-winning score in the penultimate minute as the reigning league champions Valkyrie remained unbeaten in BWSL matches since losing to St Helens back in July 2022.

York made a strong start, dominating the early territory and field position and they finally rewarded for their efforts with two quick-fire scores midway through the first half.

Roberts capitalised from a Rihari bullet pass before Kershaw finished off another incisive move down the right flank.

That lead was stretched to 12-0 before half time when Renouf drove over from an overlap down the left side after good work in the build-up from Rhiannion Marshall’s previous carry.

Tara Jane Stanley was unable to convert any of the tries, all coming from tough positions on an edge, however.

St Helens came out firing in the second half and, with the helping hand of a number of penalties, got over through Mottershead’s dart of out dummy-half just seven minutes after the restart.

On the hour, Burke finished off a wonderful shift play in the left corner, although Amy Taylor could only convert the latter not the former conversion, leaving Saints trailing 12-10.

Stanley took the Valkyrie back to four points with a 72nd-minute penalty goal but with four minutes to go, Woosey broke clear on play one from a scrum and Taylor’s conversion put St Helens ahead for the first time.

York rallied and produced a magnificent finish, with a wonderful delayed pass by Rihari sending Roberts over for her double in the right corner. Ex-Woman of Steel Stanley landed the touchline conversion for good measure. 

York: Stanley, Partington, Renouf, Roberts, Kershaw, Rihari, Gale, Wood, Hetherington, Stimpson, Owen, Andrade, Bell

Subs used: Marshall, Gentles. Subs not used: Sharp, Eastwood

18th Player: Sanderson

Tries: Roberts (18’, 78’), Kershaw (22’), Renouf (36’)

Goals: Stanley (2/5)

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

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

18th Player: Birchall

Tries: Mottershead (47’), Burke (60’), Woosey (74’)

Goals: Taylor (2/3)


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