By Sebastian Sternik
Thatto Heath Ladies picked up a hard earned 4-22 victory over Castleford Tigers Ladies when the two sides met in a pre-season friendly at the Castleford Academy.
To borrow a cliché, the match was a game of two halves with Thatto getting off to a lightening start and led 22-0 at the break. However, a spirited second half display from Castleford saw Katie Hepworth score her third try in just two games.
Faye Gaskin put the current English and European champions ahead with a slick try in the opening minutes of the game. A neat offload from Roxy Mura allowed an unmarked Gaskin to put the ball down for a 4-0 lead. Gaskin then kicked the first of her three conversions to make the score 6-0.
A few minutes later Katie May Williams powered through the centre and found Jodie Cunningham to her right. The Thatto captain made it 10-0 as the conditions began to worsen.
As the half time whistle edged ever closer, Gaskin scored her second try of the game thanks to some quick footwork. Sammi Simpson then added a further four points as Thatto went into the break 22-0 up.
In the second half the tables were turned. Castleford went on the offensive and were on the front foot right from the get go. The home side fought hard but were unable to break down a resilient Thatto defence.
However, their hard work eventually paid off when Katie Hepworth came up with a stunning solo effort to give Castleford four points on the board.
After the game the Castleford head coach, Lindsay Anfield, said: “I thought we had a really good game. We won the second half 4-0 and I think that came on the back of a strong second-half performance.”
Castleford Tigers Ladies are preparing for their inaugural season after being established last August. An enormous effort in the second half will certainly give the side a lot of optimism heading into their first campaign.
Speaking after the game Thatto’s head coach, Marc Simon, said: “A really good game from both sides. I don’t think the scoreline reflected the effort that was put in by both of the teams.”
Thatto are currently getting ready to defend their European title. The Lancashire side will take on Rugby XIII Biganos for the European Challenge title on April the 9th.