Leeds Rhinos Women have completed a league and cup double after a 20-12 win over Castleford Tigers at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
It was the Tigers who started the quickest and scored a try off their first attacking set, as they spread the ball out wide and Maisie Lumb scored in the corner. Tara Stanley missed the touchline conversion, but it was still an early advantage.
The Tigers kept on coming and scored another try just after the five minute mark as Lacey Owen managed to get over from short range. Stanley was once again off target, but Cas doubled their lead.
In keeping with the fast start, Leeds pulled one back after 13 minutes as Abbi Eatock managed to break through the defence and score. Courtney Hill missed the conversion, meaning the deficit was halved.
The game then descended into a battle through the middle, with both sides cancelling each other out either side of half time.
Leeds then broke the Tigers’ resistance as Fran Goldthorpe stretched over after a brilliant pass from Hill. Although Hill missed the conversion, it was still a level game, and there was a feeling that the Rhinos were turning the screw.
Then just 10 minutes later, the Rhinos hit the front for the first time as Goldthorpe broke through again and got away from the defence to score. Woman of Steel Hill kicked the first conversion of the night to stretch their lead out to six points.
With the clock winding down, the Rhinos then moved to kill the game as Hill put Ellie Frain in to score. Hill then converted to put the Rhinos seemingly out of sight with less than 10 minutes to go.
But the Tigers had a mini revival and threatened to make it interesting as Georgia Roche attacked the line and out Kelsey Gentles in for the try. Stanley was again off target, meaning they had an eight point mountain to climb with five minutes left.
But it proved too much and the Rhinos held on to complete the League and Cup double. The perfect way to bounce back from last years disappointment when they fell at the final hurdle in achieving the same feat last year.
As for Castleford, it was a frustrating game for them, and a second defeat in a final for them against the Rhinos. They will certainly bounce back in 2020, with a talented, young crop of players who are only going to get better.