Match report from Wigan Warriors Women v Bradford Bulls Women in Women’s Super League
Wigan beat Bradford in final League game of 2018 to confirm a home Semi Final
- Tries from Thompson (3), Walsh, Temple and Sibbald for Wigan
Wigan finished their Season on a high with a confident win over Bradford, and confirming a home Semi Final against rivals St Helens in their bid for silverware in their first ever Season.
Wigan dominated the first half, as Bradford struggled to get out of their own territory under good pressure from Wigan. A Rachel Thompson try in the corner on the 16th minute opened the scoring, with the Centre doubling her tally four minutes later as she dived onto a Gemma Walsh kick through to make it 8-0. The Captain got a good individual effort in the 27th minute to extend Wigan’s lead, touching down a kick through off her own boot, McMullan adding the extras to put Wigan 14-0 up at half time. The second half saw a more end to end affair, Rachel Thompson registered her hat trick, but Conlon soon got Bradford on the scoreboard. Wigan extended their lead through Vanessa Temple on the left edge but Moroney clawed one back for the Bulls to make it 22-8, Amanda Sibbald sealing the win at the death, Wigan with the 26-8 victory.
Wigan started well, keeping Bradford penned in their own half for the first ten minutes. The Warriors earned a goal line drop out early on, before a high tackle on Goodburn got Wigan 10m away from the goal line. Rachel Thompson looked to have scored in the 8th minute but the pass out wide was pulled back as a forward pass and Bradford survived. Rachel Thompson got the first of the game in the 16th minute, crashing over in the corner to make it 4-0 as Kate McMullan’s conversion attempt bounced off the uprights. The Centre was over again in the 20th minute, this time latching onto a kick through from Gemma Walsh, the conversion short for 8-0 Wigan. Gemma Walsh extended Wigan’s lead in the 27th minute, putting a kick through and pouncing on her own effort to get the score, McMullan on target with the extras and Wigan had the 14-0 advantage. Bradford had a spell at the Wigan goal line, but the Warriors defence was equal to the danger, Alison Burrows with a good take under pressure for a 20m restart. There was a double sin bin in the 35th minute though, Jess Courtman of Bradford and Georgia Wilson of Wigan both receiving yellow cards after a coming together off the ball. Emily Baggaley came close in the 38th minute, but was held up on the line to deny the youngster and Wigan went in 14-0 to the good at the break.
It was a slower start to the second half for both sides, Joanie Aspin got a good one-on-one steal but the following pass went forward and the full set was wasted for Wigan. Wigan then got upfield, and the kick through hit a Bradford leg and rolled into touch to give the cherry and whites a scrum close to the Bradford goal line. Rachel Thompson took full advantage of the chance in the 51st minute, diving over for her hat trick and making it 18-0 to Wigan. Bradford got over for their first of the game in the 57th minute, Becky Conlon picking up a loose ball on the left wing to crash over, Jones missing the conversion attempt and it was Wigan 18-4 Bradford. Wigan extended their lead in the 67th minute, a kick to the corner taken well by Burrows who offloaded to Temple for a simple finish at the left corner, the extras missed but Wigan were 22-4 up. Bradford soon hit back though, Kirsty Moroney getting the ball down from close range to claw one back for the Bulls, the conversion missed and it was 22-8 with ten minutes to go. Amanda Sibbald sealed the game for Wigan right on the hooter as she made a dash towards the goal line, Wigan taking the 26-8 win and confirming a home semi-final against St Helens.
Final score: Wigan Warriors Women 26-8 Bradford Bulls Women.
Wigan Warriors Women - 26 Tries: Thompson (3), Walsh, Temple, Sibbald Goals: McMullan 1/6 Bradford Bulls Women - 8 Tries: Conlon, Moroney Goals: Jones 0/2
Wigan Warriors Women: 1. Rebecca Greenfield, 20. Alison Burrows, 3. Rachel Thompson, 4. Georgia Wilson, 18. Kate McMullan, 6. Gemma Walsh, 7. Sarah Harrison, 19. Hannah Goodburn, 26. Claire Hall, 8. Chloe Hammond, 25. Amanda Sibbald, 12. Holly Speakman, 10. Joanie Aspin
Interchange: 24. Vanessa Temple, 16. Emma Dwyer, 23. Lucy Baggaley, 27. Emily Baggaley Bradford Bulls Women: 20. Leah Jones, 2. Becky Conlon, 3. Jess Courtman, 4. Amy Hardcastle, 5. Haylie Hields, 16. Adara Telemacque, 7. Stacey Greenwood, 21. Vicky Rhodes, 9. Kirsty Moroney, 10. Debbie Smith, 23. Heather Macdonald, 1. Savannah Andrade, 13. Beth Sutcliffe
Interchange: 14. Amy Boardman
Amanda Wilkinson Match Reaction
Wigan Warriors Women finished their season on a high with a win on the final day of season to confirm a home Semi-Final tie against rivals St Helens Women in their bid for silverware in their first ever season.
A hatrick of tries from Rachel Thompson, as well as scores from Gemma Walsh, Vanessa Temple and Amanda Sibbald were enough to take the 26-8 victory for the Warriors.
On the game, head coach Amanda Wilkinson said: “It wasn’t the best of games, was it? For the spectators and definitely not for the players. It was quite a messy game, Bradford came short of bodies as well. It wasn’t a quick game, we’re a good side and we look to play fast and I think Bradford slowed it down for us with injuries, so not the best of games but the result is what we were after.”
“Today we spoke about enthusiasm, it was about being enthusiastic and making sure we kept our standards. It wasn’t the best of games but we need to make sure that no matter what we have good skill and we play smart.”
On Bradford’s two tries: “I did expect Bradford to get over, they’re the type of team that are going to keep coming at you. They’ve got some really good players, they’re smart, they can see where there’s a weakness and they’ll capitalise on it. We helped them up the field, I don’t think they’d have got over half way if we’d have been smarter and not given penalties away. So, if you’re going to give them field position, they will capitalise.” On her stand-out performers on the day: “I thought Georgia (Wilson) was good today for us, I thought she had a really tough job to do out there against Amy Hardcastle and I think she did it well. She good in attack and she was a handful in defence.”
She added: “Rachel (Thompson0 just shows up. She had a good game again today, sometimes she can be a bit quiet but I think today she looked for the work and Gemma led like a true Captain.”
The Warriors now prepare to face St Helens in a local derby Semi-Final, with a spot at the Women’s Super League Grand Final at stake. On the fixture, Wilkinson said: “I’ve said it all season that I take each game as it comes, it’s just now that this week is a bit different, a bit more at stake. It’s new for all of us, some of the players are going to be feeling the pressure but it’s exciting times, we’re going to have St Helens in a semi-final, it doesn’t get much bigger than that.”
Gemma Walsh on Bradford win
Wigan Warriors Women’s Captain Gemma Walsh said that the win was the most important thing as Wigan beat Bradford Bulls 26-8 on Sunday to confirm a home Semi Final against St Helens next weekend.
On the game, Walsh said: “It was the result we wanted, we got the win and we got the home Semi Final next week which was the most important thing. I don’t think it was a great game but the result was the most important aspect.”
“I think there’s a lot of positives from the game, I think it was a bit scrappy in parts which I think was due to the fact that we got into a bit of a fight with Bradford. They’re a good team, didn’t have a lot to play for but they put up a good fight and we dropped down to their level, but overall I think we can take a lot of positives out of the game.”
Speaking on the opposition: “They toughed it out a little bit, they’ve picked up some injuries through the season and they turned up here short of interchanges, so they did really well in the circumstances. They kept going right until the end but I think our fitness helped us out a lot too.”
“It’s not gone their way this season, but they are a quality team, reigning Champions but they haven’t had it easy this season. I’m sure they’ll take some credit from the game”
The Warriors gave retiring Bradford players Kirsty Moroney and Beth Sutcliffe a guard of honour as the teams entered the Arena, on the gesture, Walsh said: “Kirsty (Moroney) and Beth (Sutcliffe) are two legends of the game, they’ve been around for a long time, they’re good friends of mine too, so to be able to give them a guard of honour before the game today was a great gesture from us.”
The Skipper also helped herself to a try and two assists on the day: “I’ve been working on my in-play kicking in training, earlier on in the Season it let us down a bit in certain games so we have been looking to improve that and I got a lucky bounce I guess today for the tries that came off kicks.”
Having confirmed a home Semi Final against local rivals St Helens, the Warriors now have a week until the fixture, on the week ahead the Captain said: “It’s a big week ahead, two tough training sessions and we’ll focus on getting past St Helens but it was good to get the win today to get us that home Semi-Final.”