Saints v Hull FC
It’s just like watching Brazil!
The Saints Women’s team emulated their senior colleagues by progressing to the next round of the Challenge Cup albeit in much more relaxed fashion at a sun-drenched Totally Wicked Stadium, writes Graham Henthorne.
Led by Captain fantastic, four try heroine Tara Jones, the Saints ran in fifteen tries to demolish a competitive but completely outclassed FC 78-0.
It was probably fitting that the first try scored by the women’s team at the main ground came from firecracker Emily Rudge. The second row always gives of her best and she was on hand to receive the offload from Naomi Williams who probably could’ve dragged herself over the line complete with her defenders but who took the safer option.
From the kick off a good set saw the Saints trundle easily down field. From Zoe Harris’ last tackle bomb a big hit on the FC winger dislodged the ball allowing Channy Crowl to touch down for a simple try.
The Saints made it three tries in as many possessions on ten minutes as Rudge scored her second. Drives from Naomi Williams and Roxy Mura put the Saints on the front foot and from the play the ball Rudge stepped her way under the black dot.
The Saints couldn’t score from their next set but did the next best thing getting a repeat set from which Rudge became provider driving the ball in only to see Crowl over for her second from a quick pay the ball.
The visitors were shell-shocked finding themselves already 20 points down in a smidgeon over a quarter of an hour and the game effectively over as a contest.
Sometimes teams can take their eyes off the ball knowing that but unfortunately for FC the Saints were in no mood to do anything other than show the Saints public what they could do.
From the restart Dawn Taylor and Roxy Mura drove the ball in. Sub Jade Ward carried on where her counterpart Isobelle Rudge had left off and when Crowl was stopped short Tara Jones jumped quickly out of dummy half to score her first and the Saints fifth.
When Leah Burke went in at the left corner again straight from the kick off after slick handling the score could’ve spiralled out of control.
But credit to the smaller FC outfit who stuck to their task and kept the Saints scoreless for the last 15 minutes of the half.
The second half became more of a procession than the first as the visitors wilted in the heat.
Jones score her second again jumping from dummy half after a great inside ball from new stand-off Mura to Emily Rudge and a fine Naomi Williams run.
From the restart Katie-May Williams decided to come to the party breaking down the middle. Fifty metres later she was caught from behind by the fullback but offloaded to her supporting namesake for a fine Saints try.
Emily Rudge scored her hat-trick try surging over from a repeat set. Gladman made a trademark surge to the line and the quick play the ball saw the defence in no state to stop Rudge.
A forty metre run from the kick off from the pick of the backs Naomi Williams saw the Saints again into the FC half on the first tackle and three tackles later Harris found Mura on a delightful inside line to the sticks.
The Saints were running amok by now and Faye Gaskin’s half break and offload to Harris saw her throw a ball out the back for Jones’ hat-trick.
Life-long Saints fan Pip Birchall showed the pride in the jersey with yet another punishing drive and after Harris had again been stopped short quick hands from Jones and Katie-May Williams saw Burke in for her second.
With ten minutes to go the Saints showed no compassion for the visitors continuing to be ruthless. With Becca Rotheram and Rachel Yeates solid at the back the Saints scored three more tries.
Mura, revelling in the pivot role, made a good 30 metre run to the full back. A quick play the ball allowed Crowl to send a fine miss pass out to Katie-May Williams who dummied to Burke before step[ping inside to score.
Naomi Williams turned provider after another electrifying run down the right passing inside for Gaskin to finish off under the posts.
Fittingly the final act of a scintillating attacking display was left to Jones who fed off the back of a typical run and step from Dawn Taylor to jump from dummy half and run 60 metres to score in front of her adoring fans. Gaskin kicked the conversion having shared nine with Zoe Harris.
Undoubtedly the Saints will face tougher opposition but stuck to their tasks well with the most pleasing aspect being the intact defensive line. The girls were still putting in the big hits right up to the final whistle with subs Chloe Richardson, Vicky Whitfield, Charlotte Hill, Jade Ward and debutant Eleanor Dainty to the fore.
The Saints now have a week off before the tough trip to the Jungle to face the Tigers.
St Helens Women:
Tries: Emily Rudge (4, 10 & 48), Channy Crowl (7 & 17), Tara Jones (21, 42, 58 & 76), Leah Burke (24 & 65), Naomi Williams (44), Roxy Mura (52), Katie-May Williams (71), Faye Gaskin (73).
Goals: Faye Gaskin 5 from 9, Zoe Harris 4 from 6.
Hull FC Women:
Half Time: 30-0
Full Time: 78-0
1. Becca Rotheram; 2. Rachel Yeates, 3. Naomi Williams, 4. Katie-May Williams, 5. Leah Burke; 6. Zoe Harris, 7. Faye Gaskin; 8. Isabelle Rudge, 9. Tara Jones (C), 10. Dawn Taylor, 11. Roxy Mura, 12. Emily Rudge, 13. Channy Crowl.
Subs: 14. Pip Birchall, 15. Charlotte Hill, 16. Lizzie Gladman, 17. Jade Ward, 18. Chloe Richardson, 19. Vicky Whitfield, 20. Eleanor Dainty.
1. Leanne Baggaley; 2. Mia Duke, 3. Rikki Lea Wainman, 4. Sophie Coreyworth, 5. Georgia Travagli; 6. Ruby Adkins, 7. Jade Key (C); 8. Cassy Lawson, 9. Julie Wilson, 10. Davinia Richardson, 11. Melissa Tulley, 12. Leonie Lawson, 13. Natalino Romano.
Subs: 14. Katie Greenley, 15. Molly Harrison, 16. Molly Bigby, 17. Jesamine Ayre, 18. Pip Green, 19. Saffron Jones, 20. Beth Shaw.