STANNINGLEY GAVE a great account of themselves before Bradford Bulls’ Super League class eventually told in the Women’s Challenge Shield final.
The 44-16 final score did not reflect how well the Leeds-based Championship side played. They trailed only 20-14 at half-time and were still in the contest until the final 12 minutes when Bulls scored three tries against a tiring defence.
Prop Rachael Barker had a huge game for Stanningley, scattering defenders with a series of storming runs and hitting with real power in the tackle.
Centre Elychia Watson did well before becoming one of a number of Stanningley players to go off injured and wingers Allana and Lauren Waller both played well above their weight.
“The scoreline didn’t reflect the game,” was Stanningley coach Darren Walker’s verdict afterwards.
“I was proud of the girls, how hard they worked and how hard they made Bradford work.”
Stanningley scored two tries, both in the first half.
Full-back Hayley Fielding cut through for a brilliant finish to level the scores early on and Watson gave the Championship side hope just before the interval when she showed the Bulls defence a clean pair of heels from a scrum midway inside Bradford’s territory.
Stand-off Chloe Wainwright-Morley, who also had a strong game, converted both and added a penalty in each half.
Bulls’ full-back Leah Jones was named player of the match.
She scored the opening try, a fine long-range effort and also kicked six conversions from eight attempts.
Amy Hardcastle and Reagan Walker both crossed twice for Bulls and Shoa Hoyle, Becky Conlon and Jess Courtman also touched down.
The Shield is a competition for teams beaten in the first round of the Challenge Cup.
Stanningley: Fielding, A Waller, Bickerdyke, Watson, L Waller, Wainwright-Morley, Dyson, Barker, Ramsden, Cunnett, Davies, Wood, Fisher. Subs Morgan, Travers, Gregory, May.
Bradford Bulls: Jones, Telemarque, Andrade, Courtman, Conlon, Bose, Boardman, Hickey, Nettleton, Rhodes, Hoyle, MacDonald, Walker. Subs Hields, Jubb, Greenwood, Wilson, Hardcastle, Moroney, Sutcliffe.
Referee: Neil Pascall.