YORK City Knights Ladies secured their maiden League Leaders’ Shield in the Betfred Women’s Super League after beating title rivals Leeds Rhinos 14-22 at Headingley Stadium.

Leeds raced into a 10-0 lead after less than a dozen minutes but York rallied to score 22 successive points in a dominant display, with Tara Stanley and Katie Langan each bagging braces.

Just 16 months since director of rugby Lindsay Anfield arrived, the Knights have found themselves transformed from second-bottom of the BWSL to major trophy winners for the very first time.

Granted, a number of top internationals have been signed and the ex-Castleford Tigers contingent is sizeable, yet to have toppled reigning leading forces Leeds and St Helens to the Shield is a huge achievement.

It was a feat that did not appear likely as Leeds made the perfect start, scoring two tries in the opening 10 minutes against a York side that had only previously conceded 44 league points all season.

First, Fran Goldthorp straightened her run down the right side to cross for the Rhinos on the back of Tamzin Renouf’s error.

York won some field position but two misjudged Sinead Peach grubbers saw those opportunities go begging.

In reply, Georgia Roche found an offload close to the line and Leeds worked the ball to Caitlin Beevers who slid over.

Courtney Winfield-Hill scored the first but not the second conversion, taking her to 400 BWSL points.

The Knights slowly worked their way back into the contest and began to dominate the territory but lacked a cutting edge, perhaps expectedly so without the half-back class of Leeds’ international Roche and Winfield-Hill pairing.

As Leeds suffered a couple of injuries to Beevers and Chloe Kerrigan, York grew stronger and finally found two quick-fire tries to go into the break level.

Some lovely hands between Peach and Olivia Gale put Langan over before an outrageous step by Stanley saw her reach for the line.

Like her Leeds counterpart, Stanley could only convert once, leaving the scores locked at 10-10 at the break.

That momentum was maintained after the break. A left-side shift ended in Langan dummying over, with Stanley converting her second attempt in front of the sticks as the referee oddly ruled a penalty try for a high shot.

Stanley doubled her personal try tally moments later after surging through a gap down the right.

Amid an error-strewn second half, Stanley’s late penalty goal put the icing on the cake for the trophy winners.

Leeds did at least manage a late consolation, Goldthorp finishing Winfield-Hill's chip.