Saints Women play out dramatic draw with Rhinos

Saints Women and Leeds Women played out a 20-20 draw, in what is sure to be a contender for game of the season at Ruskin Drive on Sunday.

Faye Gaskin kicked the first points of the game in the 7th minute after the Saints forced the Rhinos into three early mistakes.

But Leeds grabbed the first try in the 13th minute, Chloe Kerrigan breaking down the Rhinos’ left-hand side before she found Fran Goldthorp, she then went over in the left corner. Courtney Hill’s conversion attempt hit the post.

Five minutes later, Chantelle Crowl was sent to the sin bin for ten minutes, after throwing the ball away after it went dead in-goal, as the Rhinos wanted a quick restart. Once the game did get back underway, the Rhinos got to the Saints end of the pitch and Caitlin Beevers eventually going over for the away side. Hill’s conversion making it 10-2 to the Rhinos, midway through the first period.

The Saints went short from the kickoff and got the ball back. At the end of the set, Gaskin kicked high towards the Saints right corner, it was fumbled by the Rhinos defence, before Rebecca Avenell touched down for the hosts. Gaskin missing the conversion.

Saints did go in level though. Paige Travis breaking through Leeds’ defensive line before grounding the ball to the right of the sticks, going almost half the length of the pitch, despite Beevers’ best efforts to stop her. Gaskin missed the conversion, so it was 10-10 at the interval.

Caitlin Beevers then added her second, with an effort similar to that she scored in the Challenge Cup semi-final, where she went the length of the field. This time it was more central, as she weaved her way through Saints defenders to score in the right corner. Hill missed the conversion.

Saints won the ball back from kickoff again and that allowed Jodie Cunningham to go over a few tackles later, seeing a gap and exploiting it to score. Gaskin added a tricky conversion from the right touchline for 16-14.

Leeds then added their fourth try, Hill picking up a loose pass in the middle of the pitch, before using her pace to score in the left corner. She added an impressive conversion for her own try, nailing it from the left touchline.

There was drama at the death though, as Saints levelled with the last play of the game. They worked the ball left a few tackles after earning a scrum 40 metres out, Ellie Parker received the ball and she stepped onto her right foot and scored to level the game. Chantelle Crowl narrowly missed the conversion from the left touchline to win the game for Saints, as it finished 20-20 after a pulsating game at Ruskin Drive.

Saints Team – Jodie Cunningham, Rebecca Avenell, Katie-May Williams, Rhianna Burke, Leah Burke, Zoe Harris, Faye Gaskin, Sarah Lovejoy, Tara Jones, Claire Mullaney, Pip Birchall, Darcy Stott, Channy Crowl.

Interchanges – Ellie Parker, Lizzie Gladman, Dawn Taylor, Paige Travis.

Tries – Rebecca Avenell, Paige Travis, Jodie Cunningham, Ellie Parker.

Conversions – Gaskin (1 from 3), Crowl (0 from 1).

Penalties – Gaskin (1 from 1).

Sin Bin – Crowl.

Leeds Team – Caitlin Beevers, Sophie Nuttall, Fran Goldthorp, Chloe Kerrigan, Madison Laverick, Hanna Butcher, Courtney Hill, Amy Johnson, Tasha Gaines, Danielle Anderson, Paige Webster, Elle Frain, Shannon Lacey.

Interchanges – Ellie Oldroyd, Danika Priim, Ness Harriman, Love Hallaran.

Tries – Fran Goldthorp, Caitlin Beevers (2), Courtney Hill.