The Halifax Panthers women kick started their 2022 season campaign with an impressive victory over Wigan St Patrick’s 36-16

Report by Stacy Mowforth

The hard fought victory cemented with a hat trick of tries from coaches player of the match, prop Chloe Sykes, with other tries coming from opposition player of the match Rochelle Strantham- Drake, Kirsty Hogdson, Lucy Wood and Beth Greenwood.

The game saw the Panthers facing a strong 11  women squad from Wigan due to injuries and illness. In a show of sportsmanship, the ladies dropped down to match their opponents. It was Halifax that drew first blood with some quick thinking from hooker Strantham-Drake getting over the white wash with her dancing feet.
The Panthers possibly underestimating their opponents, Wigan quickly hit back with three tries in quick succession. Following a quick reshuffle from Coach Ant McCarthy Halifax hit back with an impressive full length try from Lucy Wood, making her return to the squad from injury.
The women finished the 1st half on a high with prop Sykes going in for her first of 3 tries to take the game to 14-12 at half time in the Panthers favour.
Halifax we’re their own worst enemy at times in the first half but following some strong words from captain Carly Yeaman at the break saw a better start to the second half from the women.
A strong performance from Kirsty Hodgson saw her efforts rewarded as she powered her way through and went over for a well deserved try.
The Panthers seemed to step it up a gear with some impressive plays and set pieces pleasing coaches McCarthy and Connor Matheson. Sykes was next on the scoresheet for her second with another another barnstorming run to crash over the line.
Wigan took another hit losing another player through injury with the Panthers dropping down in numbers to accommodate, but this didn’t stop the women’s momentum with Beth Greenwood adding to the score line with a quick thinking show and go to race 25m to score under the sticks.
Wigan hit back with an impressive shift play to the right hand side sending their winger in at the corner.
The celebrations were short lived and Halifax hit straight back with Sykes third try of the game, a carbon copy of her first two, showing her strength to power over the line capping off an well rounded performance from the prop.
Sadly with 14 minutes to go, Wigan conceded the match due to an injury to their playmaker. A solid performance from the Panthers taking their first victory of the season on home soil, the game gave lots of training points for improvement for the coaches and a platform to build from.
In his post match interview coach McCarthy gave kudos to a good captains performance from Yeaman both on and off the field. He also praised his young players Erin Benson and Aaliyah Tooth for their strong performances again and taking it to some much bigger opposition, playing not only above their size but above their age.
The women now have a couple of weeks break before their next game against local opposition Illingworth women which promises to be a tough and competitive game.

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