Knights 30-24 Wigan Warriors: - Betfred Women's Challenge Cup
The eyes of the women’s rugby league world were on this fixture following the events of the past week.
Five Castleford and two Bradford Bulls players spectacularly left their respected clubs and joined up with York City Knights just a few days before this quarter-final clash with Wigan.
York certainly made use of their newly signed players as the club continued their week of good news with a thrilling 30-24 victory over the Warriors in the Challenge Cup.
The Knights got off to a great start as Wigan conceded a penalty straight from kick-off. York had possession deep in Wigan’s half and they soon made full use of it as Grace Field crossed the whitewash. A lot of the credit has to go to Rhiannion Marshall who pulled off a spectacular offload in the build-up.
York had a lot of momentum in the opening ten minutes however, Wigan were beginning to find their feet. After a short spell of pressure, they too found the tryline courtesy of Anna Davies.
Moments later, Wigan were over again as Rachel Thompson edged the Warriors 8-6 ahead. Two missed kicks from Georgia Wilson kept York within touching distance.
On the 20th minute mark, York found another breakthrough. On this occasion the Knights charged down the right wing as Bethany Lambert crossed the whitewash.
Two consecutive efforts from Wigan followed as Rebecca Greenfield and Emily Stirzaker helped the Warriors to a 18-12 lead.
It seemed like Wigan were going to go into the interval with their six-point lead in-tact however, a last-gasp charge from York changed the complexion of this match.
Mel Halstead finished off a well-worked move down the left wing as Marshall produced her second touchline conversion to make it 18-18.
With a place in the Challenge Cup semi-final on the line, the pressure was palpable. This ultimately led to numerous errors in the early parts of the second-half.
Wigan enjoyed a lot of possession in the first ten minutes after the restart but they were unable to find a breakthrough.
Instead, York eventually re-discovered their groove and found a try of their own to go 24-18 ahead. A brilliant kick from Sinead Peach allowed Grace Field to chase and touchdown to the right of the sticks.
Wigan weren’t done by any stretch of the imagination as this incredible cup tie continued to unfold.
In the 64th minute, the Warriors responded with a beautifully worked effort. Thompson was on the one who crossed the tryline as Wilson converted to make it 24-24.
The game went back and forth as both teams threatened to find the winner.
Then, in the dying moments of the contest, Kelsey Gentles broke through the Wigan defence and charged towards the whitewash. The Cherries defence scrambled to step the full-back from going over but a flurry of passes soon found Field.
The forward then powered through Wigan’s defence and touched down under the sticks to seal a thrilling victory for York.
Recent York signings may be seen as controversial but they certainly helped to create a truly wonderful sporting spectacle at the Mobile Rocket Stadium.
The Knights will now face Castleford Tigers in what is a highly-anticipated semi-final contest.
Image courtesy of Stephen Gaunt/Touchline Pics