A last gasp drop goal from Faye Gaskin sent St Helens to the Challenge Cup final at Wembley with a pulsating 17-16 win over York Valkyrie.
Gaskin held her nerve in the final seconds of the game to add the one-pointer to send her side through to the Challenge Cup final, with the women’s final held at Wembley for the very first time.
St Helens will meet the winner of tomorrow’s other semi-final between Wigan and Leeds at Wembley on August 12.
It was a dream start for Saints, who opened the scoring inside the first two minutes through Shona Hoyle, with Amy Taylor converting.
York soon hit back thanks to a lengthy effort from Tamzin Renouf, who displayed good pace to race over.
St Helens were dealt a blow midway through the first half as prop Darcy Stott was forced to leave the field through injury.
And Valkyrie jumped on the back of that with reigning Woman of Steel Tara Jane Stanley showing electric footwork to get on the outside of Eboni Partington.
Saints took a 10-8 lead on the half hour mark as Jodie Cunningham put it on a plate for Luci McColm to dive over out wide.
But it was York who led at the break thanks to a quick dummy half effort from England hooker Sinead Peach, who coasted through the Saints defence. Tanley’s conversion saw her side go into the half-time lead 14-10 ahead.
St Helens trail 14-10 at the break
The Saints regained the lead shortly after the second half restart after Tara Jones capitalised on York failing to deal with a grubber from Taylor.
Valkyrie suffered a blow in the second half when forward Liv Wood had to leave the field to receive treatment.
In the 73rd minute, Stanley added a penalty goal from 35 metres out to level the score at 16-16 with seven minutes remaining, setting up a pulsating finish.
Stanley had a drop goal attempt late on but it was wide and Saints motored their way back up the field.
And with less than a minute left on the clock, Gaskin came up with the clutch play, kicking the drop goal to send her side to Wembley with an enthralling 17-16 victory.
— Betfred Challenge Cup (@TheChallengeCup) July 22, 2023
St Helens: Harris; Hook, Travis, McColm, Partington; Gaskin, Taylor; Crowl, Jones, Stott, Hoyle, Rudge, Cunningham. Subs: Williams, Whitfield, Sams, Birchall. 18th woman: Mottershead.
Tries: Hoyle, McColm, Jones Goals: Taylor 2 Drop Goals: Gaskin 1
York: Stanley; Hyde, Renouf, Owen, Kershaw; Rihari, Gale; Field, Peach, Staveley, Andrade, Wood, Bell. Subs: Taylor, Marshall, Sanderson, Akpa. 18th woman: Lambert.
Tries: Renouf, Stanley, Peach Goals: Stanley 2