Triumphant homecoming for York Valkyrie as Warrington falters

York Valkyrie defeated Warrington Wolves 44-4 on their return to the LNER. Photos: Alan Milner/Milner Creative/York RLFC

Eboni Partington and Manuqalo Komaitai inspired York Valkyrie to a 44-4 win against Warrington Wolves on their return to the LNER Community Stadium.

The former St Helens flyer set the pace with a 15-minute hat-trick in the first half, while Fijian center Komaitai notched her first and second Valkyrie tries in quick succession late in an impressive home debut.

Lacey Owen, Bettie Lambert, Alex Stimpson and Player of the Match Liv Wood also found the whitewash for Lindsay Anfield’s side, with half-back Charlie Magraw providing Warrington’s only reply.

York are level on points with Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors and St Helens, but a narrower points gap keeps the reigning Betfred Women’s Super League champions in fourth place.

Anfield made three changes to the side that defeated Huddersfield Giants 50-12 last week, with Lambert, Georgia Taylor and Jas Bell replacing Sian Judd, Carrie Roberts and Stimpson – the latter of whom was dropped to the bench.

There was also a home debut for 17-year-old prop Izzy Brennan, who scored her first Valkyrie tries last weekend, while Emma Kershaw was given the nod to start at fullback.

The Valkyrie were at the forefront from the start in the North Yorkshire sunshine, with an early mistake giving them their first chance in the opening minute, but Komaitai’s pass to Partington was just in front of the winger on the 10-yard line.

But it didn’t take long for the Anfield side to break the deadlock, with Owen Bell’s cross-field grubber hitting just the right of the posts to open the scoring with just four minutes on the clock.

Bell, who initially took up the kicking mantle in place of the injured Tara Jane Stanley, was unable to convert.

Warrington threatened to hit back after winning another six just inside the Valkyrie half, but Partington did well to collect Magraw’s bomb under pressure on her 10-yard line.

They made no mistake on their next chance in the 12th minute, however, when Bell’s kick charged down, allowing Magraw to sell the Valkyrie defense a dummy before crashing just left of the posts.

Those turned out to be the only points of the afternoon for the visitors, as the halfback narrowly missed the tee.

York restored their lead from kick-off, with a forward pass early in the set earning them a scrum on the 20-metre line.

After initially moving to the right, they switched play back to the left, with Partington collecting Komaitai’s bullet pass before racing into the left corner in the first of a devastating 15-minute hat-trick.

Bell was both short and wide from the touchline conversion and failed to convert any of her attempts during the match.

The Valkyrie won the first penalty of the match for interference from the restart, but although Sade Rihari’s winding run took them to the 20-metre line, Bell was narrowly missed.

Their play was clumsy at times, with Komaitai’s pass to Partington being deflected forward, but the winger completed her hat-trick on the half hour.

First she outpaced a handful of Warrington defenders as she typically ran forward from halfway to land under the posts, before the Valkyrie worked the ball down the line in her direction from a scrum on the 10-yard line.

Brennan, introduced mid-half for her home debut, converted the former, but not the latter, to give York an 18-4 lead.

A few minutes later the hosts should have got their fifth try of the afternoon after Wood’s break, but they lost possession in a fantastic scuffle next to the posts.

However, the Anfield side were not to be denied again before the break, with Rihari’s delayed cut-out pass freeing Owen, who played in Lambert to cross into the right corner.

Brennan fell short off the tee again, but the Valkyrie still held a commanding 22-4 lead at halftime.

The hosts tried to pick up where they left off after the break after Remi Wilton put them inside the 10-metre line, but Stimpson could not collect the final pass as she drove towards the whitewash.

However, the prop pushed her way through four minutes after the break, having built on the field position of Brennan’s drive to storm over to the left of the posts.

The youngster converted and three minutes later the pair almost combined again, but Stimpson fell just short after opting to run at the final tackle.

Partington almost increased her score on the hour after a neat show of hands, but Kershaw’s pass was in front of the winger.

However, the Anfield side took their next chance, with Owen’s burst on halfway setting the tone for Wood to go ahead, racing from the 30-yard line to go under the posts with 15 minutes to go.

Ellie Hendry, introduced from the bench five minutes earlier, moved over the extras.

York lost striker Jess Sharp to injury, but ensured their homecoming had its final flourish.

Komaitai hit a short ball from Wilton and proved too strong for the Warrington defense as she burst onto the left of the posts, before rounding off the scoring in similar fashion with four minutes remaining.

Brennan converted the first, but not the last, as the Valkyrie entered their month-long break with a dominant 44-4 win.

YORK VALKYRIE: Kershaw, Lambert, Owen, Komaitai, Partington, Rihari, Eastwood, Sharp, Wilton, Wood, Taylor, Andrade, Bell.

EXCHANGES: Sanderson, Stimpson, Hendry, Brennan.

TRIES: Owen (4), Partington (15, 24, 30), Lambert (39), Stimpson (44), Wood (64), Komaitai (71, 76)

OBJECTIVES: Bell 0/2, Brennan 3/6, Hendry 1/1

WARRINGTON WOLVES: Nixon, Johnston, Barnett, Simpson, Coates, Bell, Magraw, Latchford, Wilson, Burnett, Williams, Baggaley, Turner.

EXCHANGES: Condcliffe, Fellingham, Jelves, Johnson.

TRY: Magraw (12)

OBJECTIVES: Magraw 0/1

SERIES: 4-0, 4-4, 8-4, 12-4, 14-4, 18-4, 22-4, 26-4, 28-4, 32-4, 34-4, 38-4, 40-4, 44-4



REFEREE: Milo McKelvey

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