Wilkinson: Players will learn a lot from York defeat

Barrow Raiders Ladies Head Coach Amanda Wilkinson has praised the effort of her players following Sunday’s Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup defeat against York Valkyrie.

The Raiders fell to a 44-4 defeat against the last season’s League Leaders’ Shield winners, with Emma Hutchinson scoring the club’s only try shortly before the half-hour mark.

They still have games against Leigh Leopards and Hull KR to come in the competition, with the Women’s Challenge Cup beginning with a round robin format.

Despite tasting defeat in their opening league and cup games of the season, Wilkinson is confident that her side are on the right track.

“Following a poor performance away at Featherstone in our first game of the season, the girls had a point to prove,” she said. 

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“And what better way to do that and get up for a game than playing the best in the competition. We had really lifted the intensity in training and worked on the little things, as I believe it’s those little things that count in the big games and make the bigger things work. 

“Preparation went well and we spoke about pride and being the best we could be, and leaving nothing out there.

“I was proud of each and every one of them yesterday. I thought they gave it everything they had and worked hard for each other, and as a coach that’s all you can ask for.

“The girls were the better team for a good part of the first half and kept York in their own end with their dominant defence. We also displayed some great skills in attack and looked very impressive with good ball.

“I thought our halves played with confidence and led the team round the park well. We speak a lot about knowing your role as players, and I felt we did that very well against the very best in the competition, which shows great character.

“Even though it’s been a tough start to our season, with only the one friendly against Wigan and then Featherstone away followed by the best team in the competition in the Challenge Cup, I think it has been an ideal start for us.”

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Among those to play was 17-year-old India Jackson, who was able to build on her impressive performance on debut against Featherstone. Meanwhile, Bethan Lloyd made her competitive debut for the Raiders following her arrival in the off-season.

Wilkinson added: “It was so pleasing to see 17-year-old India Jackson playing in her first Challenge Cup game and impressing with her strong carries, beating the York defence, and gaining good metres forward.

“She played with confidence in defence and again impressed me with her shoulder contact – what a home debut for a young player!

“Bethan Lloyd got the opportunity to make her debut, stepping in on the wing when we lost our full-back. Being her first ever rugby league game at this level, I’m excited about her potential.”

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