Army claim Maiden title with Challenge Shield win

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The Army have won the Women’s Challenge Shield after a comprehensive 40-4 win over York City Knights at the Mend A Hose Jungle on Friday night.

It was a fast start from the Army and they got their reward after five minutes as Carrie Roberts powered over from short range. Jordan Barnard converted to make it a six point advantage.

The next try came from a York mistake, as they failed to find touch with the penalty. From the resulting play, they worked the ball well and Sarah Mitchelson went over. Barnard missed the conversion, but the Army were in double figures.

The penalty count was killing the Knights and the next try came off another penalty, this time it was Kaiya Glynn who got in. Barnard was again off target with the conversion, but it was a 14 point lead.

Army were dominant in the first half and they grabbed another try just before the break as Abigail Eatock skipped right across the line and got in for a try. Barnard was unlucky as her conversion hit the crossbar.

Then right on half time, Eatock got in for her second try as York made a mess of a kick upfield. She grabbed the ball and ran in under the posts to score. Barnard converted this time to make it a 24 point lead at the break.

The first try of the second half went to York as Sam Boyes went over 10 minutes into the half. Ellie Hendry missed the conversion, meaning they still trailed by 20 points.

But the Army responded as Eatock, back on the pitch after being sin binned for swearing close to the referee, ran through the York defence and completed her hat trick. Barnard missed the conversion, but they had their 24 point lead back.

The Army then killed the game with just ten minutes left as Jessica McAuley ran over on the left hand to score. Barnard was off target again but the Army broke past 30 points.

Woman of the Match Roberts capped off a fine performance by grabbing her second try of the match as she got over from close range. She took over the kicks but was off target with this one, but it was still a big lead.

The Army were finding real joy down the right hand side and got another try as McAuley slid over in the corner. Barnard was back on the kicks but missed.

This was the last try of the game and it completed a stunning victory for them, as they claimed their first piece of rugby league silverware, avenging their defeat to the Knights in 2017.

As for York, it was a brave performance and they kept themselves in the game well. But they must know focus on ensuring Super League safety.

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