Knights 32-4 Castleford Tigers: - Betfred Women's Challenge Cup
One of the most anticipated games of the season ended in a bit of a whimper as York City Knights sealed their place in the Challenge Cup final with a 32-4 victory over Castleford Tigers.
The controversial build-up to this fixture certainly would have made for a good Hollywood script. Five Castleford players sensationally moved to York three weeks ago to join their former head coach, Lindsay Anfield, who also made the move a few weeks earlier.
Such is life that both teams were then drawn together in this Challenge Cup semi-final.
The game got off to a scrappy start as both sides made early errors. That was to be expected considering what was at stake.
Kelsey Gentles produced the first bit of quality as she powered from her own ten-metre line all the way into Castleford’s 40. The attack proved fruitless but it seemed to spur York on offensively.
Just moments later, Castleford conceded a penalty in their own half which ultimately cost them the opener. York pushed down the middle as Katie Langan unleashed Savannah Andrade for her first try of the game.
The Tigresses went immediately on the attack and earned themselves a penalty in-front of the York sticks. Cas opted for the two points and Tara Jane Stanley duly delivered.
With 16 minutes on the clock, Langan extended York’s lead. The Knights player showed brilliant footwork to escape the clutches of Castleford’s defence and bag herself a try.
Four minutes later, former Castleford star Kelsey Gentles opened her account. An offload from Daisy Sanderson allowed the England international to power down the left wing and touchdown to make it 14-2.
The Tigers were given a lifeline when York’s Emily Farrow received a yellow card for interfering with Castleford’s tap restart. The Tigresses looked to capitalise but instead, it was York who extended their lead further.
Savannah Andrade showed a brilliant burst of speed as she raced nearly 60 metres to get over the tryline.
In the second half, Andrade picked up where she left off. The former Bradford Bulls player raced over 40 metres down the left flank to complete her hat-trick, just moments after the restart.
Castleford’s best spell of the game came in the late stages of the second half. The Tigers enjoyed consecutive sets deep inside their opponents half however, they couldn’t find a breakthrough.
With five minutes remaining, Marshall sealed the victory with a try of her own. The player powered over the whitewash in spite of the efforts of three Castleford defenders.
The Tigresses got a penalty in the dying moments of the game which saw Stanley kick two more points to make the final score 32-4.