Castleford Panthers Ladies gave a magnificent account of themselves in a 28-10 defeat against favourites Bradford Thunderbirds in Sunday’s Women’s Challenge Cup final at Rochdale Mayfield.
The young Panthers team competed superbly throughout and kept their opponents scoreless until the 20th minute when the Thunderbirds full-back scored.
This setback seemed to inspire newly-formed Panthers who rallied strongly, with Brogan Churm (pictured) and Ash Rice punching holes in the Thunderbirds defence.
Bradford scored again but Panthers replied with a stunning try from 16-year-old Hayley Fielding who jinked through the first line of defence and then rounded the full-back, with Ayleisha O’Neill converting.
Panthers looked promisingly placed at half-time but their hopes were hit in the second-half when Bradford’s England international Amy Hardcastle scored two tries to put them 24-6 up.
Sustained Panthers pressure saw Churm power over to put them back in the game. They quickly crossed again but the referee ruled the player was held up.
Poor options in attack eventually proved costly for Panthers who failed to move the ball out wide against tiring opponents.
Panthers are looking to recruit new players as they begin their summer league campaign. They train on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7pm to 8.15pm.