Featherstone Lionesses complete league and cup double with impressive final display

Featherstone Lionesses celebrate winning the WRLA Challenge Cup final. Picture: Dennis Whipp
Featherstone Lionesses celebrate winning the WRLA Challenge Cup final. Picture: Dennis Whipp

Featherstone Lions Ladies completed a double as they added the WARLA Challenge Cup to their league title with a 30-6 win over Orrell St James.

Team manager Jodie Blackburn was delighted as her team rounded off their first season in the ladies competition in style in the final. Grace Cotton took the player of the match award, but was pushed close by the all-action Shanelle Mannion while pack leader Paige Stevens was always in the thick of the action along with Aimee Holroyd and teenager Millen Downs .

Lions went ahead when captain fantastic Cairo Newby put over a pinpoint kick to the corner and teenager Mia Clarke swooped to score a try converted by Cotton. A second try soon followed as after Nat Towning was held just short Jess Crockford shot over wide out.

Lions lost Regan Walker with a knee injury, but Nikki Harrison made a couple of timely tackles. Claire Dyson and Nyah Morris both went close before Cotton crossed the line to make it 14-0 at half-time.

Orrell started the second half the better outfit and reignited the game with a converted try.

But Lions held firm with terrific defence by Dyson, Ella Johnson, Towning and Crockford and Charley Blackburn made the game changing tackle under her own sticks.

Lions went back on attack and Newby’s chip led to Cotton swooping to go over for a try she converted. Angel Miller and Brogan Kennedy worked well in defence as the Wigan side kept coming at Lions. Mannion had the crowd on their feet with the tackle of the match when she sent the wigan winger flying into touch.

Morris pulled off a try saving tackle before Stevens ploughed over to give Lions more breathing space, Cotton adding the conversion. Mannion then showed her ball handling skills to send Stevens over for the final score.

Jodie Blackburn praised all the squad members that have played their part in the unbeaten season with special mention to Gabby Harrison who had played every game until injury meant she missed the final. Les Blackburn, Dave Downs and Joe Westwood also deserve praise for their efforts with coach Alan Widdowson.