‘Couldn’t have written it’ - Last-gasp drop goal sends St Helens into Challenge Cup Final

Saints came from behind to beat York Valkyrie 17-16 in a dramatic Rugby League Challenge Cup semi-final.
 St Helens celebrate beating York Valkyrie 17-16 in the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup semi-final match at The Halliwell Jones Stadium. Image: Jess Hornby/Getty Images St Helens celebrate beating York Valkyrie 17-16 in the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup semi-final match at The Halliwell Jones Stadium. Image: Jess Hornby/Getty Images
St Helens celebrate beating York Valkyrie 17-16 in the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup semi-final match at The Halliwell Jones Stadium. Image: Jess Hornby/Getty Images

The scenes, which heralded the end of an epic Women’s Rugby League Challenge Cup semi-final at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington, on Saturday told their own poignant story.

Tears of joy flowed from the victorious St Helens team while vanquished York Valkyrie players slumped to the turf in sheer disbelief and dejection after seeing their Wembley dreams shattered by a drop goal with the clock ticking down to zero.

It was the kind of tie that neither side deserved to lose after a blood-and-thunder 80 minutes which swung one way and then the other but it turned out to be a magical occasion for a brave and never-say-die Faye Gaskin.

The 31-year-old England international half back, who had just recovered from a two- year battle against a serious knee injury which a surgeon said could possibly end her career, stepped up to land a one-pointer to earn Saints a place in the Wembley final next month.

Gaskin said: "It’s a dream come true for me after what I’ve been through during the past couple of years and I could not have written it any better. The drop goal came off the back of a really slow play-the-ball, but I looked at the sticks and thought ‘trust yourself’ and luckily for me the effort sailed over."

She added: "My mum is in Lourdes at the minute on her first pilgrimage and I should have been there, too. But she texted me to say they were watching the match over there before going to the grotto to pray for us."

  • St Helens: Harris, Hook, Travis, McColm, Partington, Gaskin, Taylor (A), Crowl, Jones, Stott, Hoyle, Rudge, Cunningham.
  • Interchange: Williams, Whitfield, Sams, Birchall.
  • Try scoring: Hoyle (3 mins), McColm (30), Jones (48).
  • Conversions: Taylor (4,49).
  • Drop goal: Gaskin(79).

  • York: Stanley, Hyde, Renouf,  Owen, Kershaw, Rihari, Gale, Field, Peach, Staveley, Andrade, Wood, Bell.
  • Interchange: Taylor( G.), Marshall, Sanderson, Akpa.
  • Try scoring - York: Renouf (12 mins), Stanley (25), Peach (35).
  • Conversions: Stanley (36).
  • Penalties: Stanley (72).
  • Half-time: York 14 St Helens 10.
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