Castleford Tigers Women came back from behind to produce a memorable win against Leeds Rhinos at Emerald Headingley
For many, the 36-26 victory was seen as sweet revenge following Castleford’s heart-breaking Challenge Cup Final defeat at Bolton.
Head coach Lindsay Anfield spoke after the game and revealed that tough conversations took place with certain individuals following the final.
She said: “At half-time it was pretty nerve wracking – we didn’t want a repeat of the cup final. We had a few words and we made sure that they upped their game. I think to come out and play like they played shows a lot of mental strength.
“After the final we had some difficult conversation with some of the players and it was their opportunity to step up or step aside and let somebody else to play on the big stage.”
Leeds took the lead after just four minutes when Charlotte Booth powered over for a try converted by Courtney Hill.
Lucy Eastwood quickly hit back for the Tigresses, supporting well to take a superb offload by Shona Hoyle.
Leeds regained their lead courtesy of Madison Laverick after the ball was moved wide from a scrum and with Hill adding another conversion from wide out Adam Cuthbertson’s side extended their lead to 12-4.
Castleford increased their work rate, but failed to take advantage of some great openings. This was the case until the half hour mark when Hoyle finally found the breakthrough and Tara Stanley converted.
Five minutes later Rhiannion Marshall moved the visitors ahead for the first time, the loose forward driving straight through three home defenders and managing to ground the ball overt he line.
However, seconds from half-time the ever consistent Hill exposed a gap in the Tigers defence and scored to put the hosts back in front at the break.
Unfortunately for Leeds, the late Rhinos effort just seemed to spur the visitors on even more. When both teams returned, the Tigers scored three tries in a short space of 12 minutes.
Young winger Maisie Lumb landed the first big blow of the second half. A powerful run from Marshall put Leeds on the back foot and a quick offload to the 17-year-old allowed her to touch down in the corner.
Woman of Steel Georgia Roche made her mark moments later, spotting a gap in the Rhinos back line to make it 22-18.
With 52 minutes gone, Lumb was at it again. Stanley shipped the ball out wide to the winger who was able to finish in the corner.
Hill soon cut the lead to four as she caught the Tigers defence napping and burst through the centre to score. But Marshall and Lacey Owen then added two further tries for the Tigresses to clinch their win.
Next up for Castleford is the visit of local rivals Featherstone Rovers to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Sunday, September 1.