WOMEN’S MATCH REPORT | Bradford Bulls | Round 7

Women’s Championship, Sunday 2 June 2024 (5:30pm)

Bartercard Odsal Stadium

Bradford Bulls 0-62 Leigh Leopards

Leopards made it seven up as their blazing start to the Championship season continued on a sunlit Sunday evening at Odsal.

No less than ten Leopards got their names on the scoresheet in this resounding 11-try victory which continued their 100 per cent league record.

Seven games, seven wins, 354 points for, 30 against is the Leopards’ record.

This game gave an indication of the team’s progress for it was at Odsal last April that Leopards played their first ever game, securing a 12-12 draw with the Bulls.

Since then, the players have developed their skills and teamwork at a fast and impressive rate under head coach Kieron Purtill.

None more so than the outstanding Charlotte Melvin who bagged a 22-point haul from a try and nine goals from 11 attempts. She surpassed Emma Knowles’ club record of 48 goals in 2023 by converting her own try that wrapped up this win.

Kate Howard, who’d represented Lancashire RU in the Roses match the day before, looked fresh as a daisy in scoring two tries, one a spectacular solo effort that began inside her own half.

Toryn Blackwood, the only ever-present since the Leopards team began, set them on the way with a smart finish in the right corner for her ninth try of the season.

Bulls applied plenty of pressure in the early stages, had a good kicking game and forced a goal line drop out but the Leopards defence held firm.

And once Howard finished off a length of the field move that had begun from a scrum ten metres from their own line, the Leopards smoothly slipped into their attacking gear.

Ireland international Mollie Young cut over on the left after a strong Melvin run and Rhianna Burke and Claire Mullaney added close range tries, the latter after a surging Sam Brazier run against her former club.

26-0 up at the break, Leopards had to be patient at the start of the second half as the Bulls regrouped and again applied some pressure to the visitors’ defence.

But once Rachel Porter crossed for her first try in a Leopards shirt the floodgates opened.

Leopards scored 36 points in the last 19 minutes of an increasingly one-sided contest.

Fullback Hattie Dogus, who made several piercing runs from deep, scythed through the Bulls defence for her 15th try of the season. She’s already set a new club record; surpassing Ellise Derbyshire’s 11 tries last year.

Ireland vice-captain Storm Cobain was unstoppable as she dummied left before cutting inside the defence.

Claire Collins’ great footwork close to the line was again in evidence as she finished off another high-speed attack.

Howard’s brilliant solo effort, as she picked her way through a tiring defence and then burned off the cover for a 60-metre second try was another highlight.

There was just time for Melvin to outflank the cover on the right and add her eighth successive goal to wrap up another profitable road trip in West Yorkshire.

Keli Morris and Howard each completed their 25th Leopards game, one behind Blackwood.

Leopards are next in action on Sunday 16 June when they entertain Stanningley at Twist Lane (2pm).

Bulls

20 Kylie Appleyard; 1 Emily Evans, 29 Phoebe Allott, 4 Annabelle Jackson, 22 Ellie Parkin; 11 Ellena Powell, 3 Katie Whelan; 8 Beatriz Furtrado, 6 Grace Waites, 10 Charlotte Cawthra, 19 Millen Downs, 23 Kiera Bernard, 13 Sarah Garland

Bench: 6 Madelaine Barrett, 2 Mille-May Ellis, 5 Mae Johnstone, 15 Charlotte McCauliffe

Leopards

1 Hattie Dogus; 2 Toryn Blackwood, 12 Charlotte Melvin, 22 Mollie Young, 28 Freya Turner; 6 Rhianna Burke, 24 Abi Gordon; 10 Mairead Quinn (capt), 9 Kate Howard, 8 Keira McCosh, 11 Keli Morris, 16 Storm Cobain, 18 Grace Hill

Bench: 17 Claire Mullaney, 14 Rachel Porter, 15 Sam Brazier, 13 Claire Collins

Tries: Blackwood (5), Howard (23, 75), Young (26), Burke (37), Mullaney (40), Porter (61), Dogus (66), Cobain (68), Collins (70), Melvin (78)

Goals: Melvin 9/ 11

Scoring sequence: 0-4, 0-10, 0-14, 0-20, 0-26 (ht) 0-32, 0-38, 0-44, 0-50, 0-56, 0-62

Referee: Jamie Hooper

Penalty count: 2-3

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