Featherstone Lionesses end season with thrilling War of Roses win

Featherstone Lionesses U16s rounded off their fantastic season when they won the War of the Roses final against Orrell St James.

By Tony Harber
Saturday, 16th October 2021, 9:00 am
Featherstone Lionesses U16s celebrate after winning the War of Roses final against Orrell St James.
Featherstone Lionesses U16s celebrate after winning the War of Roses final against Orrell St James.

The War of the Roses match featured the Yorkshire Cup winners against the North West Cup winners and saw the Featherstone team triumph 14-10 in a game played at Castleford Tigers’ Mend-A-Hose Stadium.

A thrilling clash was sealed for Andy Bell and Dave Aldridge’s Lionesses when Lily Williams crossed for her second try a minute from time.

But it was incredible defence that won it for them with the Featherstone side producing some superb back to the wall defence in the second half – at one point having to defend 24 tackles on the bounce as Orrell were camped on their line.

The Lionesses were inspired by captain fantastic Millie Bell, who put a massive shift in and saved the side with three try saving tackles.

Despite taking a nasty knock she would not leave the pitch and it was the same with Emily Heaps, who caused Orrell lots of problems with her strong running although as she took a knock to her head.

Skye Robinson took the player of the match award, but both sides had players who deserved it with Orrell’s full-back having a outstanding, game splitting the Lionesses open on numerous occasions.

All the players from both outfits deserve big wraps for putting on such a fine show of rugby league.

Orrell started strongly and only a superb try saving tackle by Maisie Pease prevented them from taking an early lead.

Heaps and Robinson made good yards as Featherstone came into the game. Tegan Chappell made a fine big hit which saw St James lose the ball, but the Lionesses suffered a setback as Rhianna Aldridge had to leave the pitch injured.

Chappell and Heaps were held just short and Williams was inches from going over the line, but the pressure finally paid off as Robinson finished off some good handling.

A superb second try followed on the stroke of half-time as Robinson’s fine break was backed up by Heaps and Chloe Nash then raced 50 yards down the touchline to score. She also added the touchline conversion to make it 10-0 at the break.

It was defence to the fore in the second half when Featherstone had to defend 24 tackles on their own line. Bell pulled off a couple of tackles James Roby would have been proud of, but the constant pressure led to an Orrell try that was converted.

Six minutes from time the North West side scored again, their try out wide levelling the game at 10-10.

The match looked to be heading for golden point extra-time, but Heaps opened up the Orrell defence and good hands saw the all-action Williams grab the match winning score.

All the Lionesses deserve big wraps, but their superb defence in the second half won them the game as they added the War of the Roses trophy to the Yorkshire Cup they won last month when they beat Hull KR.

It was a fitting end to a fantastic season that had started with them struggling to put a team together. Credit should go to Catherine Bell who does a lot of unseen work for the team and Chloe Nash’s mum who does physio work for them.