Castleford Tigers Women fell to their first defeat of the season in an injury-hit 40-12 loss to Leeds Rhinos at Headingley.
This was meant to be the day Castleford spoiled the Rhinos party on their Headingley debut, but instead it was the hosts who put on a polished performance and celebrated a historic win in front of a bumper crowd.
Castleford started the game well when Alex Wallace (sponsored by David Walker) crossed the whitewash in the opening minutes.
More pressure came to nothing and Leeds found their feet to hit back strongly.
Lois Forsell’s try levelled things up, finishing off a well worked move down the left, and from that point on, the first half belonged to the hosts. Further tries from Madison Laverick and Sophie Robinson saw Leeds take a commanding 20-6 lead into the break.
Despite a spirited half-time talk, Castleford began the second half in the worst way possible. The Tigers defence were slow to react during a Leeds 20-metre restart, allowing Courtney Hill to run the entire length of the field and extend the Rhinos lead to 26-6.
It went from bad to worse as Tamsin Renouf (sponsored by Hensall) had to be stretchered off with a knee injury, joining Emma Lumley (sponsored by Costello Nutrition & Training) on the sidelines, who was earlier forced off with a head injury.
The long break in play worked in favour of Castleford as moments later Wallace went over for her second try after collecting a crossfield kick. At 26-12 a comeback was on.
Castleford threatened, but so did Leeds who put more points on the board with tries by Suzie Hill, Lois Forsell and Charlotte Booth.
Tigers assistant head coach Will Dagger said: “I am obviously disappointed with the result, but I thought the team’s work rate was good. We now have to work hard to improve and prepare for the Bradford game next weekend.”
Sunday’s first round Challenge Cup clash with the Bulls will take place at Odsal.