Semi-final heartbreak for York City Knights Ladies: - Betfred Women's Super League

Published: 27 September, 2021 - 2:37 pm

Despite leading 14-4 at the break, York City Knights Ladies missed out on a place in the Betfred Women’s Super League Grand Final following a dramatic defeat to defending champions, Leeds Rhinos.

The loss ends a historic season for York which saw the team reach the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup final and the Women’s Super League semi-final.

Olivia Wood opened the scoring at the Totally Wicked Stadium as the Knights took advantage of a numbers gain down the right side. Emma Hardy’s conversion moved York 6-0 ahead with just four minutes gone.

The North Yorkshire outfit kept their foot on the gas and soon enjoyed a second breakthrough. Hardy was the try-scorer after getting the better of Leeds’ Caitlin Beevers and crashing over the whitewash.

With quarter-of-an-hour gone, the Rhinos eventually found a response and scored a try of their own through Natasha Gaines.

That certainly didn’t discourage the Knights who were quickly back on the offensive. Numbers advantage down the right almost saw Wood cross for another effort. The Rhinos defence managed to stop her from scoring but they didn’t prevent her from giving the ball to Kelsey Gentles who finished the job in the right corner.

A missed conversion attempt from Hardy saw York go into the break with a 14-4 lead.

Leeds had a lot of work to do but in true Rhinos fashion, they went about their business. Two tries from Sophie Nuttall and one from Courtney Winfield-Hill put Lois Forsell’s side ahead for the first time in the match.

With ten minutes remaining, Hardy powered under the sticks to give York late hope. However, her missed conversion still saw the Knights trail by two points.

That advantage was soon extended to four points as Winfield-Hill punished the opposition for a penalty bang in front of the sticks.

York threw everything into the closing moments of the game but ultimately, the Knights came up short in what proved to be a thrilling semi-final.

Leeds Rhinos Women – Caitlin Beevers

Natasha Gaines, Sophie Robinson, Fran Goldthorp, Sophie Nuttall, Hanna Butcher, Courtney Winfield-Hill, Bethany Lockwood, Samantha Hulme, Aimee Staveley, Chloe Kerrigan, Elle Frain, Orla McCallion

Interchanges – Keara Bennett, Danika Priim, Zoe Hornby, Eloise Hayward

Tries – Natasha Gaines (16), Courtney Winfield-Hill (49), Sophie Nuttall (56, 64)

Goals – Courtney Winfield-Hill (3)

York City Knights Ladies –   Georgie Hetherington, Kelsey Gentles, Tamzin Renouf, Savannah Andrade, Ashleigh Hyde, Emma Hardy, Katie Langan, Grace Field, Sinead Peach, Ellie Hendry, Emma Kershaw, Olivia Wood, Rhiannion Marshall

Interchanges –  Mary Tiplady, Daisy Sanderson, Alex Stimpson, Alisha Clayton 

Tries – Olivia Wood (3), Emma Hardy (12, 67), Kelsey Gentles (30)

Goals – Emma Hardy 1/4