Castleford Tigers Women ended their debut season with a 38-4 defeat to European champions Thatto Heath St Helens.
Thatto made the brighter start and took a 34-0 lead at the interval. The second half was a much more even one as Castleford began to test the resolve of the visitors defence.
The loss means Castleford end their Women’s Super League campaign in fourth after picking up just one win from six. However, despite the results, the team has come on a long way since their first training session just 12 months ago.
It was a case of de ja vu as Castleford again fell behind early. Faye Gaskin burst down the left hand side to open the scoring for Thatto. Ten minutes later, the visitors doubled their lead with a try by Jade Ward.
Gaskin capitalised as her kick on the last tackle was not collected by the hosts, who were made to pay as the kicker chased down the ball and put it down to make it 16-0.
There was more where that came for as Thatto racked up another three tries before the half-time whistle.
After the break the European champions went over once more through Rachel Thompson. However, the Tigresses dug in and began to exert some pressure of their own and a well worked effort saw Shanelle Mannion touch down wide out.
Castleford head coach Lindsay Anfield said: “It was a game of two halves. In the first our defence just didn’t cut it, which has been the case in the last few games. In the second half it was 4-4 so they can obviously do it but it’s just about turning it on from the start.”
Assistant coach Will Dagger added: “First half was a bit embarrassing. There is a lot we still have to improve on. We need to take the aggression we show on the training pitch into matchday. In the second half, though, we improved massively.”
When asked about competing with the top three in the country Anfield admitted there was still distance between them and the next level: “I think we’re still behind and it will take a couple of seasons to get there. If we do want to compete with them then our players have to focus on their rugby off the field.”
With the season at an end, the team is now looking forward to their presentation night.