In a very competitive and hugely entertaining game, which was a great advert for women’s rugby league, Bradford Thunderbirds overcame a battling Thatto Heath 22-18 to move into first place in the Premier League.
Bradford started the game well and raced into a 12-0 lead. The opening try was scored by Amy Hardcastle who used her strength and pace to break the Thatto line and shrug off a number of defenders. Lisa Taylor added the extras.
The second try was very much a team effort, with Bradford working the ball to the right hand edge, and on the 5th tackle Kirsty Moroney hoisting a pinpoint cross field kick for left centre Lisa Taylor to rise above the defence to take the ball in the in-goal area and safely ground the ball. Taylor successfully converted her own try.
Thatto’s first try was a solo effort from Alex Simpson who cleanly caught a Bradford kick on the last and raced more than half the length of the field, leaving a couple of Bradford defenders sprawling in her wake as they attempted to chase her down. Faye Gaskin converted.
Prop forward Chloe Hammond then scored for Thatto after a strong run and shrugged off a challenge from a Bradford defender. Tara Stanley added the extras to bring Thatto level.
HT Score – Bradford Clayton Thunderbirds 12 Thatto Heath St Helens 12
It was Thatto who struck first in the 2nd half to take the lead for the first time in the game. Tara Stanley made a break and when tackled was able to offload to the supporting Dani Bound who touched down under the sticks. Tara Stanley again added the extras to put Thatto in front.
Amy Hardcastle then scored her second try of the game following a powerful run from close range over the top of the Thatto defence. The conversion from Rhiannion Marshall brought the scores level again.
What turned out to be the winning score of the game followed great work again by half back Moroney, this time putting Jess Courtman through a half gap who then showed good strength to get the ball down over the line. Marshall was unable to convert the extras.
FT Score – Bradford Clayton Thunderbirds 22-18 Thatto Heath St Helens
Photo above (courtesy of Lee Ollerenshaw) shows Bradford Clayton Thunderbirds’ Charlotte Booth making another surging run with Tara Stanley of Thatto Heath St Helens in pursuit.