Leeds Rhinos staged a superb fightback to pip Castleford Tigers 20-14 in a magnificent Women’s Challenge Cup final at Warrington’s HJ Stadium.
Tigers led 14-6 at half-time, having scored three tries to one, but Leeds rallied to go ahead with 18 minutes left and captain Lois Forsell capped an outstanding performance by scoring the clinching try deep into stoppage time.
Rhinos dominated the second half, but Castleford’s turned in a brilliant defensive display and had chances to snatch the trophy in the final quarter.
Castleford scored three tries to one in the first half to deservedly take a commanding lead.
Katie Hepworth nipped over for the opener from acting-half and then impressive full-back Tara Stanley stepped through to double Castleford’s lead.
Suze Hill got Rhinos off the mark, Courtney Hill converting from the touchline, but Georgia Roche pounced on an error to race over from half-way on the stroke of half-time, Hepworth adding the extras.
Leeds responded at the start of the second half through Caitlin Beevers, from acting-half, but Tigers’ outstanding defence withstood huge pressure until the hour mark when Aimee Staveley ran on to Forsell’s pass to level the scores and Hill’s conversion edged Rhinos ahead.
Both teams missed opportunites after that, but Forsell - the player of the match - nipped over from acting-half to seal Leeds’ first silverware in their debut season.
Leeds side Stanningley, from the Championship, were beaten 44-16 by Super League side Bradford Bulls in the Challenge Shield final, played as a curtain-raiser.
Hayley Fielding and Elychia Watson scored Stanningley’s tries.
Chloe Wainwright-Morley converted both and kicked two penalties.
Amy Hardcastle and Reagan Walker both crossed twice for Bulls who led 20-14 at half-time.
Player of the match Leah Jones scored a try and six conversions and Shoa Hoyle, Becky Conlon and Jess Courtman also touched down.