Saints Women got beaten 20-18 by the Leeds Rhinos at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Thursday evening, their second defeat in a row.

Saints started well, the ball was worked down our left channel and Beth Stott found Jodie Cunningham who crashed over from close range. Stott was unable to convert, 4-0 Saints led.

Shortly after Saints forced a goal-line dropout. From the restart Saints moved the ball out right and Zoe Harris slid through a gap to increase our lead. Stott was unable to convert, 8-0 Saints led.

Saints’ dream start continued. Amy Hardcastle made a break down the left-hand side before fending off Fran Goldthorp to score under the sticks, a trademark Hardcastle try! Harris converted, 14-0 Saints led.

Leeds then replied as Caitlin Beevers burrowed her way over from close range. Courtney Winfield-Hill’s conversion bounced in off the post, 14-6 Leeds trailed.

A second Leeds try quickly followed. Jasmine Cudjoe spotted a gap from dummy half and went over to score. Winfield-Hill was unable to convert so we led 14-10 at the break.

Leeds levelled the scores just two minutes into the second half. Goldthorp broke through some Saints tackles before burying under some tacklers to score. Winfield-Hill was unable to convert so the scores were level at 14-14.

Saints then re-took the lead just past the hour mark. Chantelle Crowl made a strong carry towards the Leeds line and off the back of it Tara Jones pinched one from dummy half. Harris was unable to convert so we led 18-14.

The hosts then had two tries disallowed. Firstly, Eboni Partington slid over in the corner but Saints were denied by the video referee. Then Paige Travis looked to have gone over as the referee awarded a try on-field, but the video referee once again said no so the Saints lead remained just four points.

That was to prove costly. Leeds kicked and chased on the last with two minutes to go, they won the race and Saints were unable to tackle Goldthorp as she scored to the right of the sticks. Winfield-Hill converted to win the game for the Rhinos and leave Saints with their second successive defeat as we went down 20-18.

Match Summary

Saints Women Team: Rebecca Rotheram, Leah Burke, Carrie Roberts, Amy Hardcastle, Eboni Partington, Beth Stott, Zoe Harris, Chantelle Crowl, Tara Jones, Shona Hoyle, Naomi Williams, Emily Rudge, Jodie Cunningham.

Interchanges: Victoria Whitfield, Paige Travis, Darcy Stott, Rachael Woosey.

Tries: Jodie Cunningham (3), Zoe Harris (18), Amy Hardcastle (21), Tara Jones (61)

Conversions: Beth Stott (0 from 2), Zoe Harris (1 from 2)

Leeds Rhinos Women Team: Francesca Goldthorp, Eloise Hayward, Hanna Butcher, Caitlin Beevers, Sophie Robinson, Georgia Roche, Courtney Winfield-Hill, Danielle Anderson, Keara Bennett, Alexandra Barnes, Chloe Kerrigan, Elle Frain, Zoe Hornby.

Interchanges: Orla McCallion, Jasmine Cudjoe, Adaoma Akwilkill, Sophie Nuttall.

Tries: Caitlin Beevers (27), Jasmine Cudjoe (32), Francesca Goldthorp (42, 78)

Conversions: Courtney Winfield-Hill (2 from 4)

HT: 14-10

FT: 18-20

Attendance: 1440