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York Valkyrie 44-0 Barrow Raiders: Match Report

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York Valkyrie ended their five-week absence with a convincing 44-0 victory over Barrow Raiders at the LNER Community Stadium.

A much-changed Valkyrie side, which saw debuts handed to new recruits Megan Pakulis and Under-19s talent Evie Sexton alongside the returns of Tara Jane Stanley, Georgie Hetherington and Eva Izumi after injury, made a slow start in the torrential rain.

But York soon found their feet with Liv Gale, Savannah Andrade, Emma Kershaw and Georgie Hetherington going over in the first half.

Eboni Partington and Liv Wood soon followed early in the second half before two more Kershaw scores saw her complete her hat-trick.

A third straight league win leaves the hosts third in the Betfred Women’s Super League, trailing leaders Wigan Warriors by just two points with a game in hand over the table-toppers.

Amid the thunderous rain, both sides struggled to conjure any major chances, with handling errors aplenty in the opening dozen minutes thanks to the slippery ball.

As the weather conditions calmed, York found their groove, scoring thrice in the space of 12 minutes.

A bomb from returning ex-Woman of Steel Tara Jane Stanley was dropped by the Barrow backline, allowing Remi Wilton, who switched to the halves, to put Liv Gale over down the left edge.

The Valkyrie were soon 8-0 to the good when a short ball from Sade Rihari put Andrade through a gap to the right of the sticks.

And just six minutes later, the hosts profited down the same flank when Stanley picked out a brilliant cut-out pass to give Kershaw a walk-in by the corner flag.

Stanley converted the latter of the three attempts at goal, her first of five conversions from seven attempts.

The tries kept on coming for York as Hetherington, fresh from her England debut at full-back last week, but back at hooker today, sneaked over from dummy-half before the half-hour mark.

That took York into a 20-0 lead, which they retained until the half-time interval.

Anfield’s side needed just seven minutes following the restart to increase their lead.

A classy run of hands down the left flank allowed Stanley to deliver another decisive cut-out pass for Partington to touch down.

Just before the hour-mark, Wood added her name to the scoresheet with stunning solo try. Collecting the ball 5m out in front the sticks, the prop somehow charged through a pile of surrounding Barrow defenders.

In the final dozen minutes, Kershaw completed her hat-trick with a couple of quick-fire tries.

Spotting space down the short-wide, Rihari and then Stanley put the winger over down the right edge before another sweeping move to the same flank put the number four over for a personal treble.

A late penalty goal from Stanley rounded off a dominant afternoon.

York: Stanley, Partington, Sexton, Taylor, Kershaw, Rihari, Wilton, Wood, Hetherington, Bell, Gale, Andrade, Pakulis

Subs (all used): Sharp, Stimpson, Eastwood, Izumi

18th Player: Marshall

Tries: Gale (13’), Andrade (19’), Kershaw (25’, 67’, 74’), Hetherington (28’), Partington (47’), Wood (58’)

Goals: Stanley (6/9)

Barrow: Norman, E. Hutchinson, C. Hutchinson, Rush, Larkin, Fisher, Litherland, Dobson, Lindsay, Morley, Clough, Temple, Stirzaker

Subs (all used): Friend, Smith, Cottier, Stewart

18th Player: Mellen 


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