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Women's Super League: York Valkyrie beat Leeds Rhinos to claim maiden Grand Final success

York Valkyrie clinched the Women’s Super League Grand Final for the first time after Lacey Owen’s second-half try wrapped up a 16-6 win over Leeds Rhinos at the LNER Stadium.

Their victory put the seal on an unbeaten league campaign for the Valkyrie and also exacted a measure of revenge, having fallen short against the same team last season.

A record final crowd of 4,547 saw Tamzin Renouf’s early try get the hosts off on the front foot before two errors under the high ball brought a juddering end to a brief second-half revival by the Rhinos.

Nerves had been understandably evident among the home side in the early stages as Leeds pressed through Caitlin Beevers, who was denied a third-minute opener due to a knock-on.

But Renouf put the first points on the board after Owen pierced the Leeds line and only a superb saving tackle from Amy Hardcastle denied the same player a second as York looked to press home their advantage.

Tara Jane Stanley surged through a gap in the final play of the first half to extend her side’s lead to eight at the interval, but the Rhinos briefly threatened a comeback early in the second period.

Ruby Enright kicked Leeds on to the scoreboard then Beevers came close to twisting over after a superb break from Kaya Glynn.

But the Leeds revival stalled when the normally dependable Beevers spilled a high ball and let Stanley restore Valkyrie’s eight-point advantage, before another spill, this time from Sophie Nuttall, led to York’s second try as Liv Gale flicked a neat pass for Owen to crash over.

Stanley’s kick made it 16-2 just past the hour mark, and rigorous home defence kept the gallant Rhinos at bay until Caitlin Casey flashed over for a consolation on the hooter, with most of the Valkyrie side already celebrating.

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