A new Women’s Super League attendance record of 5,308 saw a masterclass from Tara Jane Stanley as York beat Leeds 34-12 at Headingley in the season opener.
Stanley proved exactly why she is the current Woman of Steel as she guided Valkyrie around the park brilliantly. She racked up 14 points after scoring a try and kicking five goals.
How it happened
York got off to a great start when Tamzin Renouf got on the end of a lovely grubber from captain Sinead Peach to open the scoring in the fifth minute.
But the Valkyrie were dealt a blow five minutes later when prop Jas Bell was sin-binned for a tip tackle on Leeds prop Zoë Hornby.
Leeds capitalised on having the extra woman, with Keara Bennett scoring in the following set. Sam Hulme’s conversion levelled the score at 6-6.
York regained the lead when an incredible cut-out pass from reigning Woman of Steel Stanley saw Ashleigh Hyde score in the corner. Stanley nailed her second conversion from the touchline.
But Leeds fought back once more. Eloise Hayward scored following a superb break from Caitlin Beevers, which motored the Rhinos up the field, with Hulme again converting.
It was the visitors who were ahead at half-time thanks to a bit of individual brilliance from Hollie Mae-Dodd. Stanley’s conversion saw her side 18-12 in front at the break.
York 18-12 ahead at the break
The Valkyrie extended their lead in the 50th minute thanks to half-back Liv Gale, with Stanley adding the extras.
Woman of Steel Stanley posted her first try of the game on the hour mark as she raced over in the corner.
Stanley added a penalty goal with five minutes remaining to put her side in a 28-12 lead, ultimately putting the game out of reach for Leeds.
Ellie Hendry got on the scoresheet for York late on as they wrapped up an impressive 34-12 win over Leeds in front of 5,308, a record attendance for a Women’s Super League game.
Leeds: Nutall; Hayward, Beevers, Butcher, Robinson; Casey, Hulme; Hornby, Bennett, Northrop, Hardcastle, Dainton, Hale. Subs: Earnshaw-Cudjoe, Anderson, Lockwood, Frain.
Tries: Bennett, Hayward Goals: Hulme 2
York: Stanley; Hyde, Renouf, Kershaw, Hendry; Hetherington, Gale; Wood, Peach, Bell, Owen, Andrade, Dodd. Subs: Rihari, Staveley, Marshall, Field.
Tries: Renouf, Hyde, Dodd, Gale, Stanley, Hendry Goals: Stanley 5