St Helens come back to retain Women’s Challenge Cup

St Helens comeback from an 8-4 half-time deficit to defeat Leeds Rhinos 18-8 in a repeat of last season’s Women’s Super League Grand Final; the match was played out in front of a women’s rugby league record crowd of 5,888 at Elland Road

Last Updated: 07/05/22 2:30pm

St Helens win the 2022 Women's Challenge Cup final, retaining their title from last year
St Helens win the 2022 Women’s Challenge Cup final, retaining their title from last year

St Helens retained the Women’s Challenge Cup as a second-half comeback saw them defeat a spirited Leeds Rhinos side 18-8 in front of a record crowd at Elland Road.

Leeds raced into a 6-0 lead after 15 minutes as player of the match Zoe Hornby powered over the line for a try – the first points St Helens had conceded in the competition this season.

A rampant Rhinos side had opportunities to stretch their lead. At the 20-minute mark, Elychia Watson could not quite gather Danielle Anderson’s pass with the try-line looming, and some superb last-ditch defending from Beth Stott stopped Georgia Roche scoring a certain try, ripping the ball away.

Six minutes before half-time, St Helens were back in it as Leah Burke touched down, though Stott missed on the conversion attempt.

A penalty for captain Courtney Winfield-Hill on the stroke of half-time gave Leeds an 8-4 advantage at the break, but it would prove to be their final points of the contest as St Helens’ class showed in the second half.

St Helens celebrate a try by Jodie Cunningham in their Women's Challenge Cup final win over Leeds Rhinos
St Helens celebrate a try by Jodie Cunningham in their Women’s Challenge Cup final win over Leeds Rhinos

Eboni Partington tied things up with a try nine minutes after the restart – Stott again unsuccessful with the conversion – but the game truly turned with a key five-minute spell from the 60-minute mark.

Leeds almost restored their lead after a jinking run from Fran Goldthorp, only from some more stellar last-ditch defending to stop her short of a stunning try. A second penalty attempt for Winfield-Hill swiftly followed, but this one she missed and then two minutes later Saints had the lead as Jodie Cunningham powered past multiple Leeds defenders for a decisive try.

Partington scored for a second time late on to add some gloss to the victory as St Helens retained their trophy in front of 5,888 fans in attendance – a women’s rugby league record.

Source : Sky Sports