Women’s Challenge Cup final: St Helens come back to beat Leeds Rhinos and retain trophy | Rugby League News

St Helens comeback from an 8-4 half-time deficit to defeat Leeds Rhinos 18-8 in a repeat of last season’s Women’s Super League Grand Final; the match was played out in front of a women’s rugby league record crowd of 5,888 at Elland Road

Last Updated: 07/05/22 2:30 pm

St Helens win the 2022 Women’s Challenge Cup final, retaining their title from last year

St Helens retained the Women’s Challenge Cup as a second-half comeback saw them defeat a spirited Leeds Rhinos side 18-8 in front of a record crowd at Elland Road.

Leeds raced into a 6-0 lead after 15 minutes as player of the match Zoe Hornby powered over the line for a try – the first points St Helens had conceded in the competition this season.

A rampant Rhinos side had opportunities to stretch their lead. At the 20-minute mark, Elychia Watson could not quite gather Danielle Anderson’s pass with the try-line looming, and some superb last-ditch defending from Beth Stott stopped Georgia Roche scoring a certain try, ripping the ball away.

Six minutes before half-time, St Helens were back in it as Leah Burke touched down, though Stott missed on the conversion attempt.

A penalty for captain Courtney Winfield-Hill on the half-time stroke gave Leeds an 8-4 advantage at the break, but it would prove to be their final points of the contest as St Helens’ class showed in the second half.

St Helens celebrate a try by Jodie Cunningham in their Women's Challenge Cup final win over Leeds Rhinos

St Helens celebrate a try by Jodie Cunningham in their Women’s Challenge Cup final win over Leeds Rhinos

Eboni Partington tied things up with a try nine minutes after the restart – Stott again unsuccessful with the conversion – but the game truly turned with a key five-minute spell from the 60-minute mark.

Leeds almost restored their lead after a jinking run from Fran Goldthorp, only from some more stellar last-ditch defending to stop her short of a stunning try. A second penalty attempt for Winfield-Hill swiftly followed, but this one she missed and then two minutes later the Saints had the lead as Jodie Cunningham powered past multiple Leeds defenders for a decisive try.

Partington scored for a second time late on to add some gloss to victory as St Helens retained their trophy in front of 5,888 fans in attendance – a women’s rugby league record.

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