St.Helens Women are through to the Women’s Challenge Cup semi-final after a near perfect performance in the last eight saw them beat rivals Wigan Warriors 36-0 at the Totally Wicked Stadium in front of over 500 fans.
A Leah Burke hat-trick, as well as tries from Lizzie Gladman, Zoe Harris, Emily Rudge and Tara Jones saw our Saints Women comfortably beat our big rivals, Wigan.
It took 10 minutes for the Saints to take the lead as a sweeping move from right to left saw both Faye Gaskin and Jodie Cunningham involved before the latter threw a cut-out pass out wide to Burke, who powered her way over the try-line in the left-hand corner to give the hosts the lead. Gaskin’s conversion went wide so the score remained 4-0.
The Saints then increased their lead in the 21st minute. Gladman picked up the ball close to the line, before she bulldozed her way over the line. Gaskin converted the try to increase the lead to 10-0 and that is how it remained until the break, with the Saints well deserving of their lead.
Wigan looked to respond early on in the second half, but heroic goal-line defending by the Saints Women kept their opponents out and eight minutes into the half, we extended our lead. A smart dummy by Harris close to the line saw a gap open up and she made the most of it, running into the space and touching the ball down under pressure. Gaskin converted to extend the lead to 16-0.
Saints then made it scores in back to back sets. A few tackles after the restart, Rudge made a great break, running 50 metres, before breaking a tackle to score underneath the sticks. a great try. Gaskin added the extras in front of the sticks to make it 22-0 with the Saints fully in control.
On the hour mark, we were in again. Hooker Jones spotted some space at dummy half and seized the opportunity. Gaskin once again converting the try to make it 28-0.
Burke then added her second of the game, fourteen minutes from time. A smart cut out pass from Gaskin down the left-hand side allowed Burke to touch the ball down in the corner. Gaskin’s conversion attempt went narrowly under the sticks, so the score remained 32-0.
Saints completed the scoring three minutes from time, with their seventh try of the game. After we won a scrum on the Warriors’ ten metre line, the ball was moved from right to left, with Burke on the overlap to go over in the corner for her hat-trick and in the process secured our progression to the semi-final of the Coral Challenge Cup.
Saints: Cunningham, Avenell, Williams, B.Stott, L.Burke, Harris, Gaskin, Taylor, Jones, Lovejoy, Birchall, Rudge, Crowl.
Interchanges – Gladman, Mullaney, D.Stott, R.Burke.
Tries – L.Burke (3), Gladman, Harris, Rudge, Jones.
Goals – Gaskin (4 from 7)
Wigan: Greenfield, Tully, Temple, Holding, McMullan, Walsh, Harrison, Goodburn, Dwyer, Watson, Sibbald, Speakman, Molyneux.
Interchanges – Hall, Dainty, Baggaley, Bragg
HT – 10-0
FT – 36-0