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Thursday, November 30, 2023
HomeSportSaints beat Leeds in historic Challenge Cup final

Saints beat Leeds in historic Challenge Cup final


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Leeds (4) 8Tries: Robinson, Beevers St Helens (16) 22Tries: Jones, Hook, Partington, Hoyle Goals: Taylor 3St Helens beat Leeds Rhinos in the first-ever Women’s Challenge Cup final at Wembley to seal their third consecutive win in the competition.Quickfire tries from Tara Jones, Phoebe Hook and Eboni Partington sent Saints ahead but Sophie Robinson hit back.Catilin Beevers’ tremendous solo try continued Leeds’ resurgence but Shona Hoyle padded out Saints’ lead.Amy Taylor kicked a 65th-minute penalty to give St Helens an unassailable lead and ensure victory once more.Any fears that this game would fail to live up to the hype was swiftly brushed away in a terrific final which stretched both teams with brutal defence and some wonderful attack.With sun shining across the Wembley turf, the quality of the game was a brilliant advert for the sport and emotions came to the fore at full-time.Tara Jones became the first women to score in a Challenge Cup final at Wembley when she sent St Helens ahead against Leeds RhinosBeevers’ score was viral-quality fare, the kind of out-of-nothing moment, a weaving, full-throttle dart downfield that evoked memories of Martin Offiah torching the Leeds defence back in 1994.For Saints’ Faye Gaskin, there were happier memories to replace heartbreak after her 2021 final injury, while tears flowed for those who had been on the rise from park pitches to the national stadium.Saints just had a more ruthless edge to their play to go with a stubborn defence, taking their chances.Gaskin and Taylor orchestrated from the halves, with pack stars such as Jodie Cunningham and Channy Crowl putting teammates through holes with soft-hands.St Helens’ victory continued their recent dominance in the Women’s Challenge CupJones burrowed over after Saints punished an error, while slick handling created tries for Partington and Hoyle, from powerful runs.Leeds were wasteful at times with the ball, but defensively showed real mettle and, when they did get it right in attack, were impressive.Robinson’s try was well-worked, and Beevers’ score a world-class finish, but ultimately they lacked the cutting edge to trouble the holders on the scoreboard.Leeds: Enright; Nuttall, Butcher, Beevers, Robinson; Casey, Greening; Anderson, Cudjoe, Hornby, Murray, Hardcastle, Dainton.Interchanges: Frain, Hayward, Moxon, Northrop.St Helens: Harris; Hook, Travis, McColm, Partington; Taylor, Gaskin; Crowl, Jones, Birchall, Hoyle, Rudge, Cunningham (c).Interchanges: Williams, Whitfield, Sams, Mottershead.Referee: James Vella.

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