The Xamax sponsored Women’s Rugby League Association County of Origin match finally took place today, 14 February, with Lancashire playing Yorkshire at the John Charles Stadium in Hunslet.
Since the match had already been postponed once because of water-logged pitch it was a relief for both players and organisers to get this underway, despite the freezing temperatures and blizzard.
And it was Yorkshire who got the first points on the board when Kelsey Gentles (East Leeds) touched down to put the white roses in the lead. Shortly afterwards the Yorkshire captain, Debbie Smith (Oulton Raidettes), added another try and extended Yorkshire’s lead, making the score 8-0.
With just five minutes left of the first half Jess Hopkins crossed the whitewash to give Lancashire their first points and take the score to 8-4 (in Yorkshire’s favour) at half time.
Despite the low scoring game both teams were giving their all in very difficult conditions battling both the elements and opponents and thoroughly enjoying the occasion and doing their county’s proud.
To make the competition even more interesting Leah Day, full back for Lancashire, leveled the scores, drawing her side back into contention.
Moments before full time Yorkshire’s Amy Ratcliffe thought she was in to win the game, only for Lancashire shove her into touch just before the line.
With the score at 8-8 the referee blew for full time, signalling that the fate of this game would lie with a golden point. Tension increased amongst players and spectators alike.
The winner was to come out of nothing, with nine minutes of extra time played, Yorkshire kicked, Lancashire knocked on and Yorkshire’s Amy Gilbert (Lindley Swifts) was on hand to take advantage as she scooped up the ball and scored the winning try for Yorkshire – heartbreak for the Lancashire girls and sheer delight for Yorkshire.
This was game 5 of the County of Origin series and puts Yorkshire ahead with 3 wins to Lancashire’s 2.
Player of the Match was awarded to Laura Norcliffe of Yorkshire.
The Lancashire Squad
Jade Ward Wigan St Judes
Nataliina Romano Hull Wyke
Holly Hilton Lindley Swifts
Michelle Woodcock Wigan St Judes (Vice Captain)
Olivia Miah Wigan St Judes
Zoe Goate Liverpool University
Natasha Dawson Liverpool University
Becky Greenfield Wigan St Judes
Chloe Hammond Wigan St Judes
Katie Stevens Lindley Swifts
Abileigh Capener Wigan St Judes
Armani Sharrock Wigan St Judes (Captain)
Jess Hopkins Huddersfield St Josephs
Megan Condliffe Wigan St Judes
Laura Outten Liverpool University
Emma Dobson Wigan St Judes
Katie Philbin Wigan St Judes
Laura Bent Wigan St Judes
Eve Watton Liverpool University
Jasmine Ledger Wigan St Judes
Candice Brennan Wigan St Judes
Charlotte Pyke Wigan St Judes
Jess Shaw Wigan St Judes
Hannah Young Wigan St Judes
The Yorkshire Squad
Debbie Smith Oulton Raidettes
Reagan Walker Oulton Raidettes
Nat Thompson Hull Wyke
Jasmine Earnshaw Lindley Swifts
Katie Langan York
Lucy Wood Huddersfield St Joes
Kelsey Gentles East Leeds
Tracey Addey Oulton Raidettes
Ruby Adkins Hull Wyke
Paige Stevens York
Kirsty Duffield East Leeds
Laura Pullen East Leeds
Amy Gilbert Lindley Swifts
Beth Neilson Huddersfield St Joes
Tanya Hannam Hull Wyke
Gemma Fordham Odsal Sedbergh
Bethan Oates Thornhill Trojans
Laura Norcliffe Lindley Swifts
Amy Ratcliffe Thornhill Trojans
Beth Greenwood Odsal Sedberg