WOMEN’S MATCH REPORT | Hull Kingston Rovers | Round 6

Women’s Championship North. Twist Lane, Sunday 12 May 2024 (2pm)

Leigh Leopards 52-8 Hull KR

Leopards made it six out of six in their sizzling start to the Championship campaign, Hattie Dogus scorching through for a hat-trick in her team’s nine-try victory over Rovers at Twist Lane.

The Leopards fullback has now scored four hat-tricks in her last five games and has bagged 14 tries so far this season.

Charlotte Melvin passed the 100-points mark with another eight goals to take her to 40 goals and 108 points for the season.

Livewire hooker Kate Howard notched two fine tries with Rhianna Burke, after a fine individual effort, Storm Cobain and forwards Georgia Mole and Eleanor Dainty also on the scoresheet.

With the temperatures in the mid-20s and another big crowd basking in the sunshine Leopards revelled in the first warm and firm conditions they’d encountered all season.

Rovers were tipped to provide strong opposition this year but have already conceded 98 points in two games at the Leopards’ hands, after a 46-0 Challenge Cup defeat in Humberside last month.

With four players on debut Rovers competed hard and scored two first half tries but Leopards always looked the stronger side and dominated the second half.

Head coach Kieron Purtill will, however, be concerned at a poor completion rate at times and will be awaiting the result of the disciplinary after Leah Morris was red carded in the second half.

So influential in recent weeks, the teenaged halfback was sent off by referee Adam Woods after getting involved in a melee involving several players from both sides. Rovers centre Demi Thomas was sin binned in the same incident.

By then Leopards had the game wrapped up, leading 34-8, and despite being short handed they went on to add three more tries.

Leopards started in dominant style, Cobain blasting over from close range and Olivia Boyham’s fine run and brilliant offload creating the first of Dogus’s trio.

It was something of a surprise when Thomas forced her way over in the corner for Rovers given how tight the Leopards’ defence has been in recent weeks.

But the home side immediately responded when Howard darted over from the ruck before Dogus again showed her speed and eye for an opening after Toryn Blackwood’s long run had the Rovers defence on the back foot.

Mole then scored her first Leopards try to cap a fine individual effort, a determined close range effort before Rovers ended the half with a second try, winger Amy Nolan crashed over in the left corner.

Leopards tightened their defence and rarely looked in danger of conceding another try and they added four further scores in the second half.

Burke’s try which gave her side the early momentum after the re-start was a fine individual effort after she burst through a gap from 30-metres out.

Dogus then joined the attack cleverly on the left to help create extra numbers and her pace and elusiveness did the rest.

Dainty forced her way over by the posts to earn reward for another grafting display in a Leopards pack that maintained its intensity in the heat.

Howard brought up the half century with her second try, as she cleverly spotted a gap in the retreating Rovers defence for Melvin to complete the scoring with her eighth successful conversion.

Leopards are next in action on Sunday 2 June when they travel to Odsal Stadium to play Bradford Bulls.

Stanningley are their next opponents at Twist Lane in Round 8 on Sunday 16 June.

Leopards

1 Hattie Dogus; 2 Toryn Blackwood, 12 Charlotte Melvin, 22 Mollie Young, 28 Freya Turner; 6 Rhianna Burke, 7 Leah Morris; 10 Mairead Quinn (capt), 9 Kate Howard, 20 Eleanor Dainty, 11 Keli Morris, 25 Olivia Boyham, 16 Storm Cobain

Bench:

23 Georgia Mole, 24 Abi Gordon, 15 Sam Brazier, 13 Claire Collins

Tries: Cobain (4), Howard (14, 69), Dogus (7, 26, 55), Mole (38), Burke (46), Dainty (57)

Goals: Melvin 8/ 9

Red card: L Morris (52)

Rovers

1 Carla Nolan; 16 Bethany Rushmer, 3 Sophie Banks, 4 Demi Thomas, 5 Amy Nolan; 6 Ebony Oaten-Powdrill, 9 Kayleigh Bulman-Hook; 18 Hannah Byrom, 17 Rachel Robertson, 29 Jade Smalley, 21 Aisla Merryweather, 12 Madison Kendall, 7 Abbie Kudla

Bench:

22 Georgia Skibolski, 28 Katie Nozedar, 26 Shannon Ostler, 27 Lexi Cook

Tries: Thomas (11), Nolan (40)

Goals: Thomas 0/ 2

Yellow card: Thomas (52)

Referee: Adam Woods

Penalty count: 6-4

Scoring sequence: 6-0, 12-0, 12-4, 18-4, 22-4, 28-4, 28-8 (ht), 34-8, 40-8, 46-8, 52-8

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