London crowned Super League champs
London 12 North 10
An 80th minute converted try for England women’s international Michaela Staniford handed London the Super League crown at the death on Saturday at Twickenham Stadium.
The Wasps centre rounded off a gutsy final attack by Martin Hynes’ side to steal the win from under the North’s noses. Captain Shelley Rae then added a difficult conversion to seal the 12-10 victory.
The final score summed up the game with the match being that of cat and mouse throughout, and even though the scores were tied at 0-0 until the half hour mark that was not through lack of attacking from either teams.
England and Sharks fly-half Katy McLean finally broke the deadlock bang on 28 minutes with a penalty and it was those three points that led the North into the break as leaders.
After the restart London put down their marker first with IRB Women’s Personality of the Year Maggie Alphonsi standing out as she tested the North’s defence.
The England forward couldn’t break North’s try line, but it did not matter with her country teammate Amy Turner finally touching down for a vital try. The score came from a well-worked line-out, which then saw the scrum-half pick-up and pile over on 58 minutes. Rae missed the conversion leaving London with a 5-3 lead.
North bounced back though and with Lichfield’s Sarah Hunter making a great break whilst London were caught napping she reversed the lead on 64 minutes. McLean added the conversion to put the North 10-5 up.
With both sides back into a deadlock North looked like they were going to hang on to the victory, but London never gave up and with Alphonsi and Saracens centre Rachel Burford executing some impressive moves London finally got their rewards.
After another sustained period of attack in North’s 22 a nicely taken London scrum saw the ball recycled out to Burford, Louisa Seymour and then into the hands of Staniford who’s turn of speed saw her free to touch down. Rae then executed the conversion to hand London the last gasp, but thrilling win.
North (Head Coach Andy Paton and Assistant Coach Dave Manders)
1 Rochelle Clark (VC) (Henley), 2 Samantha Dale (Worcester), 3 Hannah Shields (Sharks), 4 Tamara Taylor (C) (Sharks), 5 Alexandra Stevens (Lichfield), 6 Sarah Hunter (Lichfield), 7 Sonia Green (Saracens), 8 Sarah Beale (Leos), 9 Harriet Slynn (Richmond), 10 Katy McLean (VC) (Sharks), 11 Francesca Matthews (Blaydon), 12 Georgina Roberts (Sharks), 13 Claire Allan (Saracens), 14 Katherine Merchant (Worcester), 15 Joanne Watmore (Thirsk). Replacements: 16 Olivia Poore (Lichfield), 17 Katherine Smith (Richmond), 18 Louise Leonard (Blaydon), 19 Abigail Mowbray (Sharks), 20 Sarah Roper (Army), 21 Adrienne McAlpine (Wasps), 22 Sarah Graham (Blaydon).
London (Head Coach Martin Hynes, Assistant Coach Albert Hughes)
1 Rosemarie Crowley (Lichfield), 2 Emma Layland (Richmond), 3 Katy Storie (Blaydon), 4 Emma Dresser (Lichfield), 5 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond), 6 Leah Carey (Lichfield), 7 Maggie Alphonsi (vc) (Saracens), 8 Claire Frost (Saracens), 9 Amy Turner (Wasps), 10 Shelley Rae (c) (Wasps), 11 Fiona Pocock (Richmond), 12 Rachel Burford (Saracens), 13 Michaela Staniford (Wasps), 14 Sarah Marsh (Wasps), 15 Charlotte Barras (Lichfield). Replacements: 16 Claire Purdy (Wasps), 17 Monica Lewinska (Clifton), 18 Emma Dorban-Hall (Wasps), 19 Laura Jenkins (Richmond), 20 Abigail Taft (Lichfield), 21 Holly Le Grave (Saracens), 22 Louisa Seymour (Saracens).
Tries: Turner, Staniford,
Half-time score: North 3 London 0
Referee: Tim Miller (Buckinghamshire)
Touch Judge: Shane Cameron (Avon)
Touch Judge: Peter Scott (Yorkshire)
England hold their nerve to make it through to the World Cup Final at a sold-out Lord's on Sunday.