- Wigan Warriors Women lost a battling game against Leeds Rhinos Women at Sports Park Weetwood on Sunday afternoon.
- Vicky Molyneux crossed for a double in a spirited performance.
- FT | Leeds Rhinos Women 28-10 Wigan Warriors Women.
Wigan Warriors’ Vicky Molyneux grabbed a try either side of half time but it was Leeds Rhinos who took the two points in Sunday’s Betfred Women’s Super League Play-Off game.
Four Leeds tries in the first 40 raced the Rhinos into the lead, before Molyneux grabbed a late first half effort.
Leeds added another two efforts in the second half, and despite a second effort from Molyneux, the Warriors were handed defeat by the reigning champions in their third Play-Off fixture.
Kris Ratcliffe made four changes to his side which lost to York City Knights last weekend, Lauren Gilham came in for her Wigan debut at full back in place of Becky Greenfield who picked up an injury in the previous fixture. Carys Marsh returned at stand off with Eleanor Dainty and Emma Dwyer also returning to the starting line-up.
Wigan were tested from the kick-off with the Rhinos getting three sets back-to-back but the Warriors held up well to minimise the options for the home side and a good bit of goal line defence saw Dainty collect the kick from Hanna Butcher to get possession back.
The Warriors were let off with an offside call after the early pressure but a mistake on the first tackle saw Wigan back up against the pressure. After dealing well in the resulting set, the kick on the last from Courtney Winfield-Hill troubled Wigan who saw Sophie Nuttall go over for the first score of the game, the conversion missed but Leeds led 4-0.
Butcher extended the Rhinos advantage in the 18th minute, Chloe Kerrigan was stopped short but quick thinking from Butcher allowed her to dive over from the play the ball, converted by Winfield-Hill for 10-0.
There was another scoring effort from Leeds in the 23rd minute, Winfield-Hill grounding her own kick through, but just short with the conversion attempt putting the Rhinos to 14-0, before Fran Goldthorp raced away to make it 20-0 in favour of the hosts.
Despite putting in a lot of defensive work for a large period of the first half the Warriors were allowed some time in the Leeds half. Lauren Gilham went close in one set, before the next attacking set saw Danika Priim hit the Warriors with a high shot. The penalty put Wigan in good field position and a good fend paired with desire saw Vicky Molyneux go over in the corner, converted well from out wide from Georgia Wilson for 20-6 at the half time break.
Leeds went over immediately from the restart, Caitlin Beevers’ kick through not quite dealt with by the Warriors back line and Tasha Gaines was there to steal the ball and ease over. The conversion from Winfield-Hill was wide and Leeds were up to 24-6.
Goldthorp had eyes on the goal line minutes later, as Leeds had race up the field but a great tackle from Wilson with support from Paige Costello forced the winger into touch to get some relief for the Cherry and Whites.
With 20 minutes to go the Warriors were consistently trying to get over for another score, a kick on the last from Clare Radford was dealt with by Gaines but only after crossing her full back Beevers to allow Wigan a penalty just meters from the Rhinos back line but a knock on left the Warriors frustrated before conceding a penalty to put the advantage back with Leeds.
The Rhinos were asking the questions but twice Leah Darbyshire came to the rescue with committed defence, first forcing a goal line drop out before forcing Nuttall into touch with a big one-on-one tackle.
The Warriors were agonisingly close to a second score in the 68th minute, the ball going through hands to the left wing but the final pass wasn’t collected cleanly and the Rhinos were let off a certain try.
The reigning champions sealed their win as Goldthorp added her second of the afternoon, Beevers put in the initial footwork but the support from Goldthorp saw her trademark inside step to go over the whitewash, the conversion attempt was missed again but Leeds were out to 28-6.
Molyneux added another score for the Warriors in the 78th minute, latching onto a neat kick through from Radford, the conversion by Wilson from the right touchline was just wide and the consolation late effort saw Leeds to the 28-10 victory.
Leeds Rhinos: Caitlin Beevers, Tasha Gaines, Fran Goldthorp, Elychia Watson, Sophie Nuttall, Hanna Butcher, Courtney Winfield-Hill, Aimee Staveley, Sam Hulme, Beth Lockwood, Chloe Kerrigan, Lucy Murray, Orla McCallion.
Interchanges: Keara Bennett, Elle Frain, Danika Priim, Zoe Hornby.
Tries: Nuttall (11’), Butcher (18’), Winfield-Hill (23’), Goldthorp (26’, 72’), Gaines (42’)
Goals: Winfield-Hill 2/6
Wigan Warriors: Lauren Gilham, Anna Mary Davies, Georgia Wilson, Megan Bragg, Leah Darbyshire, Carys Marsh, Clare Radford, Eleanor Dainty, Emma Dwyer, Jade Gregory-Haselden, Paige Costello, Holly Speakman, Vicky Molyneux.
Interchanges: Freya Hellin, Lucy Baggaley, Beth Hayes, Emily Baggaley.
Tries: Molyneux (33’, 78’)
Goals: Wilson 1/2