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The Women’s Super League (WSL) kicked off with a local derby between the Wigan Warriors and St Helens at Robin Park. For the two sets of players it was the biggest game of the season first up with bragging rights at stake. A win for either side would set the scene for the season ahead, and despite being so early in the season this was already being billed as a four pointer.

The weather was perfect in Wigan with the sun shining and a decent crowd gathered to witness what was hoped to be a close game and a terrific spectacle.

Could last seasons Champions and cup winners get their 2019 season off to the best of starts with a home win.

There was just four minutes on the clock when a pinpoint cross-field kick from Gemma Walsh was caught on the full by Michelle Davis and grounded in the corner. The touchline kick was missed.

It was end to end play with both sides having chances but defences holding strong until the twenty-second minute when expansive play from Saints saw Emily Rudge feed the last pass to Leah Burke for the winger to score in the corner. Faye Gaskin was unable to convert from the touchline but the scores were level at 4-4.

On twenty-four the Wigan tacklers forced a goal line drop out and in the fifth tackle Gemma Walsh went close but the Saints defence closed her down and regained possession on the next play.

It was an exciting opening forty, despite the sides sharing just two unconverted tries, with plenty of skills on show and some big defensive hits. Wigan slightly edged the opening twenty, but Saints fought back well and were worthy of status quo at the interval.

Rebecca Greenfield knocked on over the line as Wigan looked to start their second half in style.

Wigan twice tested the Saints line around the fifty minute mark but couldn’t get past the last line of defence. A pass thrown into touch, and then a foot in touch before grounding, denied Saints twice again as they dominated field position. Saints couldn’t turn their dominance into points.

Megan Grace-Holding went close for Wigan but was pushed into touch in the act of scoring. As Saints moved the ball downfield through Faye Gaskin, Michelle Davis held down too long in the tackle and referee Roberts brandished the yellow card on sixty-eight minutes, Wigan down to twelve for the next ten minutes. Wigan opted to try the penalty but it went wide of the uprights.

In a crazy moment Sarah Harrison was sin-binned for getting involved in some pushing and shoving just before the final hooter. Faye Gaskin accepted the chance to kick a penalty from thirty metres to secure a famous 6-4 win for the Saints.

Saints snatched a win right at the death in a hard faught encounter between two dedicated sides. There was plenty of skill and endeavour on display from both sides. Saints had numerous opportunities to score second half tries but great Wigan defence thwarted them at every turn. It took a moment of madness from Harrison to gift Saints a penalty to seal the win.

Warriors: Greenfield, Burrows, Thompson, Davis (T, SB on 68), Wilson, Walsh, Harrison (SB on 79), Speakman, Marsh, Goodburn, Sibbald, Temple, Molyneux.  Subs: Baggaley, Foley, Hennessey, Grace-Holding.

Saints: Cunningham, Burke (T), Williams, Avenell, Harris, Gaskin (G), Stott B, Whitfield, Jones, Taylor, Birchall, Rudge, Crowl.  Subs: Lovejoy, Graham, May-Williams, Stott D.

Referee: John Roberts.

Half-Time: 4-4.

Full-Time: 4-6.              

Attendance: .



Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 7th Apr 2019 2:40 PM | Views : 742 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES
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