Yorkshire 8 – 15 Lancashire

Lancashire claimed first blood in the Pre-Season Women’s Origin Series at Weetwood today, beating Yorkshire 15-8 in the first of three matches to be played in the next week.

The Red Rose scored three tries to two, with the watching England coach Craig Richards highlighting the contribution of Wigan loose forward Victoria Molyneux – and also the previously hidden goalkicking ability of her Warriors club-mate Georgia Wilson.

“We’ve arranged this series with a specific focus on our preparations for the 2021 World Cup,” Richards explained.

“The games are 30 minutes each way, which we thought would increase the intensity – and we are playing three in a week to replicate the sort of tight turnarounds that the girls will have to cope with in tournament rugby.

“We’re going to get a load of data from this series which will be a big help as we count down towards 2021.

“We also tried something different with goalkicking, whereby each try would be followed by two conversion attempts, worth one point each.

“That allowed us to have a look at a few different kickers in a match environment – and we discovered that Georgia Wilson from Wigan is a very good goalkicker.

“Vicky Molyneux was excellent for Lancashire as well, with a really hard-working performance at loose forward – and both of the Army girls who have joined the squad, Carrie Richards and Abby Eatock, stood up really well.”

Richards, originally from St Helens, gave Lancashire the lead with a well-taken try set up by Jodie Cunningham, although both Wilson and Castleford’s Tara Stanley failed with their conversion attempts.

Yorkshire then pulled level with a try from Kelsey Gentles, with two more failed conversion attempts, this time from Georgia Roche and Fran Goldthorp.

Tara Jones put Lancashire ahead again, and this time there were two successful conversions from Stanley and Wilson to extend their lead to 10-4.

Bradford’s Amy Hardcastle reduced the arrears to two points with a second Yorkshire try, but again Roche and Goldthorp were unable to convert.

Chantelle Crowl of St Helens scored the clincher, with Wilson landing her second goal.

The second match of the series is at Batley’s Fox’s Biscuits Stadium on Wednesday evening, before match three back at Weetwood next weekend – after which, the players will switch their focus to the start of the Betfred Women’s Super League season.