YORK Valkyrie are now just one win from Wembley after sailing into the semi finals of the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup with a 70-0 rout of Featherstone Rovers.

Returning to the LNER Community Stadium for the first time since October’s Grand Final triumph, the Valkyrie were in complete control from the first minute until the last as they hosted their newly-promoted opponents for the second successive week.

Again, Lindsay Anfield’s side made a blistering start, with Liv Wood, Carrie Roberts and Eboni Partington all finding the whitewash with less than 20 minutes on the clock.

Having held a comfortable 44-0 lead at the interval, Georgie Hetherington, Lacey Owen, Tara Jane Stanley and Rhiannion Marshall also added their names to the scoresheet after the break, with the Valkyrie recording a clean record for the first time this season.

York will again face reigning champions St Helens in the competition’s semi finals, and will be keen to upset their quest for a fourth successive Women’s Challenge Cup when they meet at Doncaster’s Eco Power Stadium on Saturday, May 18 (11:15am).

RECAP: York Valkyrie 70-0 Featherstone Rovers - Challenge Cup QF

Anfield made two changes from last weekend’s 80-6 thrashing of Featherstone, with Roberts starting alongside Tamzin Renouf in the centres, and Marshall replacing Jas Bell at loose forward.

That saw Emma Kershaw moved to the wing, whilst with Woman of Steel Sinead Peach as water girl, Georgie Hetherington continued at hooker after an impressive display last Saturday.

Featherstone made the worst possible start when they were penalised for holding in the game’s very first tackle, with the Valkyrie taking the lead less than a minute later.

With Roberts brought down metres short after a blistering run, Wood took over the reins from the next tackle, cutting inside and crashing over to the right of the posts to break the deadlock.

Stanley arrowed through the first of nine successful conversions.

York squandered an opportunity to double their lead after Partington knocked-on 10 metres from the line, but they were across the whitewash again with six minutes played when Roberts twisted and turned her way across into the right corner after good work from Kershaw and Hetherington.

York Press: Liv Wood opened the scoring with two minutes played.Liv Wood opened the scoring with two minutes played. (Image: Craig Hawkhead)

Partington was next to add her name to the scoresheet after a Featherstone kick bounced kindly into her hands on halfway, taking it into her stride before racing away to score just to the left of the posts.

And the winger had her second on the 20-minute mark, collecting Stanley’s cross-field chip to dive across into the left corner, bringing to an end the visitors’ best spell of the match so far.

Owen continued the scoring spree four minutes later, collecting Lucy Eastwood’s pass to crash over from close range before Kershaw added her name to the scoresheet just before the half-hour, racing into the right corner after Roberts’ right-side shift.

The Valkyrie showed no signs of slowing down, with another penalty opening up the field position for young forward Jess Sharp to force her way over to the left of the posts.

And there was still time for Renouf to round off the scoring before the break, having cut a strong line from Liv Gale’s offload. With the score 44-0 at the interval, Anfield’s side were in cruise control.

Any ideas that York’s pursuit of points would slow down after the break were quickly dispelled, Player of the Match Hetherington opening the scoring just two minutes into the half after Renouf’s bursting run.

Consecutive penalties saw Featherstone make their first real foray inside the Valkyrie half shortly after, but an outstanding tackle from Marshall and Sade Rihari forced the handover metres from the hosts’ tryline.

Partington thought that she had crossed for her hat-trick with a little under half an hour remaining after appearing to ground Stanley’s chip to the left corner, but it was ruled that the ball had already rolled dead.

A knock-on from the young winger then presented Featherstone with another opportunity to bring themselves deep into the Valkyrie’s half, but Elland Lamb let the ball slip from her grasp as she bore down on the whitewash.

Instead, the hosts nudged themselves further in front, Gale collecting a second assist on her return from a rib injury, superbly offloading to Owen as she was tackled to take her side past the half-century.

Stanley was a whisker short from the left touchline, but made no mistake with her next conversion attempt three minutes later.

York Press: Georgie Hetherington collected a brace of tries.Georgie Hetherington collected a brace of tries. (Image: Craig Hawkhead)

The former Woman of Steel tried her luck with a grubber towards the uprights, with Hetherington capitalising on Featherstone’s hesitancy to score her second try of the afternoon.

Rovers’ indiscipline continued as the tie entered its final 10 minutes, with Renouf and Owen winning penalties for high tackles.

That allowed Stanley to add her name to the scoresheet, as she collected Roberts’ bullet pass to dive across beneath the posts.

Loose forward Marshall then provided the icing on the cake for the Valkyrie in the dying minutes, proving too big and too strong as she took three defenders with her across the whitewash.

A dominant display for the Valkyrie, with their emphatic victory leaving them just one win from a historic appearance at Wembley.

Now, all attention turns to their Betfred Women’s Super League campaign, with St Helens the visitors to the LNER Community Stadium as the Valkyrie begin their title defence on Sunday (12pm).

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

INTERCHANGES: Gale, Bell, Sanderson, Sharp.

TRIES: Wood (2), Roberts (6), Partington (13,20), Owen (24, 64), Kershaw (29), Sharp (34), Renouf (37), Hetherington (42, 68), Stanley (73), Marshall (77)

GOALS: Stanley 9/13

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

INTERCHANGES: Smith, Harrison, Courtney, Kennedy.

POINTS SEQUENCE: 4-0, 6-0, 10-0, 12-0, 16-0, 20-0, 22-0, 26-0, 28-0, 32-0, 34-0, 38-0, 40-0, 44-0, 48-0, 52-0, 56-0, 58-0, 62-0, 64-0, 68-0, 70-0


YORK’S STAR WOMAN: Georgie Hetherington. An impressive performance from the winger turned hooker, including a brace of tries.

REFEREE: Josh Pemberton