In the final game of six played over three days the pitch held firm and the wind and rain calmed down for WRLA County of Origin 7 to take place, with the series level at three all something had to give.
Before the game there was a minute’s applause in memory of Chris Greenfield the Lancashire and Wigan St Patricks Ladies manager who sadly passed away on Boxing Day; WRLA aware of the legacy that he has given to both women’s rugby league in Wigan and for Lancashire.
WRLA had also arranged for a one off Chris Greenfield Origin Player of the Match 2018 to be awarded as well as BARLA’s Player of the Match, which with Chris watching from ‘above’ was won by his daughter, fullback Becky Greenfield, who scored a brace of tries to give Lancashire the spoils as they came from behind for a 4-3 series lead.
The game was a stop start affair given the terrific hits by both sides and after Lancashire had looked dangerous in the opening stages Yorkshire playing uphill took the game to their opponents.
Yorkshire’s centre, Casey Rhodes, thought she had opened the scoring on nine minutes but it was chalked off, Lancashire then went downfield and unmarked winger Katie Ann Smith couldn’t take Naomi Williams cross-field bomb with the line beckoning.
Yorkshire took the lead on 17 minutes with a great attack with the ball moving swiftly down the line and scrum half Georgia Roche touched down but couldn’t add the extras.
It was end to end with big hits, Lancashire channelling the ball right but losing the ball at the last moment, but on the stroke of half time they took the lead which they never lost.
They then handled it left and found Greenfield who had joined the line, she found a gap to score which saw a late hit whilst grounded from a Yorkshire player. Williams missed the conversion but kicked the penalty in front of the sticks for a 6-4 lead.
Lancashire started on the front foot in the second half and increased their lead on 46 minutes when Greenfield reacted first to an ingoal grubber to complete her brace out wide for a six point lead.
Both began losing the ball as the conditions got worse and the final quarter saw Yorkshire playing the game in the Lancashire half camped in their final twenty. Wave after waves of Yorkshire attacks came and went but the Lancashire line somehow held with their players knowing what was at stake, as the ‘White Rose’ tried to level the game.
Lancashire held on for a Red Rose win in a game that begun on a sombre note for Becky Greenfield but finished in ecstasy for the diminutive fullback who gave her all in a great team effort.
Final score Lancashire 10 Yorkshire 4
LANCASHIRE: 1. Becky Greenfield, 2. Shelley Morgan, 3. Emily Baggaley, 4. Abby Latchford, 5. Katie Ann Smith, 6. Rach Porter, 7. Charlotte Foley, 8. Lucy Baggaley, 9. Tara Jones, 10. Kirstie Musgrave, 11. Armani Sharock, 12. Gemma Hennesey, 13. Naomi Williams. Subs: 14. Chloe Hammond, 15. Katie Stephens, 16. Leah Smith, 17. Meagan Jenkins
YORKSHIRE: 1. Kelsey Gentles, 2. Leah Jones, 3. Caitlin Beevers, 4. Casey Rhodes, 5. Sophie Nuttall, 6. Laura Dyson, 7. Georgia Roche, 8. Rachael Barker, 9. Amy Boardman, 10. Ruby Magson, 11. Aimee Staveley, 12. Sarah Barford, 13. Larisa Deaves. Subs: 14. Grace Ramsden, 15. Natalina Romano, 16. Davinia Richardson, 17. Leisha Williams
Player of the Match: Becky Greenfield (Lancashire)
Match report by Steve Manning, BARLA Media Manager