YORK Valkyrie eased into the quarter finals of the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup with an 80-6 thrashing of Featherstone Rovers at York St John University Sports Park.

It took a mere 47 seconds for centre Tamzin Renouf to bring Lindsay Anfield’s side onto the scoresheet, with Eboni Partington, Alex Stimpson, Sade Rihari, Emma Kershaw, Lucy Eastwood, Kelsey Gentles and Tara Jane Stanley all also finding the whitewash before the interval.

Though Featherstone started the second half well, their resolve was broken again within nine minutes, Carrie Roberts paving the way for Lindsay Anfield’s side to score six times in a blistering 19-minute spell to further increase their advantage.

But it was the visitors who had the last word late on, former Valkyrie youngster Chloe Smith burrowing over into the left corner before Tally Bryer added an excellent touchline conversion to round off the scoring.

The sides will face off again in just eight days’ time, with Featherstone the visitors to the LNER Community Stadium for a place in the competition’s semi-finals next Sunday.

RECAP: York Valkyrie 80-6 Featherstone Rovers - Challenge Cup

Anfield made three changes from the side that faced Sheffield Eagles, with Georgie Hetherington starting at hooker, Stimpson at prop and Lacey Owen returning to partner Player of the Match Savannah Andrade in the second row after a hamstring injury.

Having fallen behind early on in their season opener at Sheffield three weeks ago, the director of rugby was rewarded in her calls for a fast start, with the Valkyrie taking the lead with less than a minute on the clock.

A Featherstone error from the kick-off presented the hosts with their first opportunity, Renouf needing no second invitation to dive over into the left corner from the resultant scrum on the 10-metre line.

Kershaw made her own error from Featherstone’s kick-off, but they could not keep possession in what became a story of their first half.

Partington soon doubled the Valkyrie’s lead with a stunning 70-metre effort, before Stimpson added a third from close range on the 10-minute mark after good work from Kershaw and Jas Bell.

York Press: Eboni Partington raced 70 metres to score the first of her brace of tries.Eboni Partington raced 70 metres to score the first of her brace of tries. (Image: Craig Hawkhead)

Featherstone sent the restart out on the full as they struggled to grapple with the blustery conditions, allowing Sade Rihari to slip down the blindside to score the fourth try of the afternoon.

Stanley then sent Kershaw away down the right edge before converting to give the hosts a 28-point lead inside the opening quarter.

Anfield’s side continued their relentless pursuit of points, with Rihari feeding Kershaw to notch her second try in seven minutes, before Eastwood scored her first Valkyrie try after a dummy close to the sticks, Stanley extending their advantage to 40 points by the half-hour mark.

A high tackle on Gentles on the 30-metre line paved the way for the winger-turned-prop to score her third try in two games from among the interchanges, and there was still enough time for Stanley to add her name to the scoresheet from Owen’s rapid break before the break as she brought up the half-century.

Featherstone made a bright start to the second half, with three consecutive Valkyrie errors leaving the visitors 10 metres from the whitewash, but they could not find a way through a staunch home defence.

Instead, it was the Valkyrie who resumed their scoring nine minutes into the half, Roberts crashing over down the right edge, before Marshall took the score to 60 five minutes later, brushing off a defender as she dummied her way across underneath the posts.

That kickstarted a blistering spell for Anfield’s side, who scored a further thrice in the 10 minutes that followed.

First, Partington cut back inside from the left edge before driving through the visiting defence, with Roberts then completing her own brace, profiting after Stanley had side-stepped several would-be tackles to open up space on the right.

The full-back then scored herself, twisting her way over the whitewash and somehow managing to touch down as she was tackled by three defenders.

York Press: Stanley twisted her way across the line through three defenders to score.Stanley twisted her way across the line through three defenders to score. (Image: Craig Hawkhead)

Trialist Kira Fitzpatrick completed the rout with 12 minutes remaining, collecting Roberts’ unselfish pass before diving across into the right corner.

However, it was Featherstone who had the last word with six minutes left to play, Smith burrowing her way over into the left corner before Bryer excellently converted.

Nonetheless, a dominant performance from the Valkyrie in front of a healthy crowd.

They will hope to repeat last year’s feat of making it to the competition’s semi finals when they host Featherstone in a repeat of today’s tie at the LNER Community Stadium next Sunday (12pm).

YORK VALKYRIE: Stanley, Partington, Renouf, Kershaw. Izumi, Rihari, Eastwood, Wood, Hetherington, Stimpson, Owen, Andrade, Bell.

INTERCHANGES: Marshall, Gentles, Roberts, Fitzpatrick (Trialist)

TRIES: Renouf (1), Partington (5, 57), Stimpson (10), Rihari (13), Kershaw (16, 23), Eastwood (27), Gentles (31), Stanley (39, 65), Roberts (49, 61), Marshall (54), Fitzpatrick (68)

GOALS: Stanley 10/15

FEATHERSTONE ROVERS: Waters, Prescott, Copley, Johnson, Price, Bryer, Grace, Mannion, Blackburn, Churm, Watt, Davies, Billington.

INTERCHANGES: Smith, Harrison, Courtney, Evans.

TRIES: Smith (74)

GOALS: Bryer 1/1

POINTS SEQUENCE: 4-0, 8-0, 10-0, 14-0, 16-0, 20-0, 22-0, 26-0, 28-0, 32-0, 34-0, 38-0, 40-0, 44-0, 46-0, 50-0, 52-0, 56-0, 60-0, 62-0, 66-0, 70-0, 74-0, 76-0, 80-0, 80-4, 80-6.


YORK’S STAR WOMAN: Savannah Andrade. Another outstanding shift from the second-rower, who seems to have an added spark to her game this season.

REFEREE: Luke Bland