YORK City Knights Ladies’ endured an difficult bow in the Women’s Super League – all made worse when serious injury prematurely ended the match.

The Knights, promoted from the Summer Merit League into expanded national elite competition, kicked off away to a St Helens team who had gone unbeaten for three seasons not too long ago.

They were trailing 40-0 when the game was abandoned just past the hour-mark due to a neck/head injury to Chloe James.

They had earlier lost Sam Boyes, too, to suspected serious knee ligament damage.

Head coach Daryl North said of James: “Hopefully it was just a bad case of whiplash as she was taken down while kicking the ball.”

Of the performance, he said: “We had a very slow start and a very poor first half - we did not stick to our game plan at all.

“I said before the game if we let this happen they will punish us and they did, going 30-0 at half-time.

“In the second half we started to stick to the game plan which resulted in us getting a lot more ball and creating some good chances out wide.

“I honestly believe that because it was St Helens - the old Thatto Heath team who dominated the women's division for years - we gave them too much respect.”

St Helens also had a serious injury in the second half, causing a 50-minute delay.

Then when an ambulance was called for James, the ref abandoned the match. The results stands as more than 60 minutes had past. James was able to travel back with the team and was to be assessed further by medics.

North had praise for Maxi Barker, who played out of position for most of the game after Boyes’ departure, and for “brilliant performances” by Emily Farrow and Daisy Sanderson in only their second outings.

Paige Stevens stood out with some strong running, while North said the threequarters were “amazing” - namely wingers Ellie Hendry and Bettie Lambert and players-of-the-match Ashley Hyde and Nat Carr at centre.