24 May 2024

St Helens Women 12 Leeds Rhinos Women 6

By Sam Brocksom

Leeds Rhinos Women’s unbeaten start to the season has come to an end after a 12-6 defeat to St Helens at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Injuries forced Lois Forsell to make some changes after the win over Wigan last week. Ruby Enright and Bethan Dainton both picked up knocks, so Sophie Robinson came into the starting lineup on the wing, pushing Liv Whitehead to full back whilst Ella Donnelly came into the thirteen to replace Dainton.

The Rhinos started the game with heaps of possession, being a constant threat on the Saints line. Sophie Robinson was all but certain to score after cutting in from the left but a great tackle from Phoebe Hook denied her.

Leeds kept getting close to the Saints line but could not convert any chances into points. Hanna Butcher went close but lost the ball and Caitlin Casey was held up.

The first points of the game didn’t come until halfway through the first forty, when Faye Gaskin added a penalty goal after Zoe Hornby gave away a high tackle. Gaskin then followed it up with the first try of the match five minutes later as she spotted a gap in the line and darted through to score. Her successful conversion gave Saints an eight-point lead.

The final points of the half again came from Gaskin who added another penalty goal, this time Leeds were penalised for offside. The successful kick meant Leeds went into the half trailing 10-0.

The second half continued to be a tough territory battle. It took fifteen minutes for the first points to be scored. Keara Bennett reached over from close range, capitalising on an unset defence. With no Ruby Enright, the hooker took on kicking duties and slotted over the extras reducing the deficit to four.

The game hung in the balance throughout the eighty minutes, both teams had chances to score but great defence from both sides kept the scores so low. On seventy minutes, Vicky Whitfield broke the Leeds line. She was brought down by Whitehead, but Leeds gave away a penalty for offside giving Gaskin a third kick at goal, which she converted.

That would be the last of the game despite the Rhinos’ best efforts. A great effort with some key injuries. Attention now focuses to Barrow Raiders, who they host at Headingley on 1st June.

Leeds: Whitehead, Robinson, Beevers, Hardcastle, Cousins, Butcher, Casey, Field, Bennett, Northrop, Sykes, Murray, Donnelly. Subs: Hornby, Moxon, Greening, Lockwood.

Tries: Bennett

Goals: Bennett 1/1

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