Rugby League

Womens Rugby League

15 May 2023

Women’s Rugby League Nines Festival delights fans in Warrington

Women’s Rugby League Nines Festival delights fans in Warrington

The finalists for this year’s Women’s Rugby League Nines have been confirmed after a thrilling day’s action at Victoria Park in Warrington yesterday (Sunday 14 May).

Crowds gathered from early morning to bask in the sunshine and watch 20 teams from across the UK play a total of 30 matches during a day-long celebration of the development of the Women’s and Girls' game. 

The star of last year’s final, Tara-Jane Stanley, kicked off the day as her York Valkyrie side took on Barrow Raiders in Group B of the tournament – and it took the England international just three minutes to open the scoring. The Valkyrie defeated the Raiders and went on to win all three of their games en route to their second Women’s Rugby League Nines Finals Day when the competition returns to the Salford Stadium on Saturday 24 June. 

Cardiff Demons once again underlined the quality of players who have been attracted to the sport since the introduction of the Betfred Women's Super League (BWSL) South after winning two of their three matches – their final game was a closely fought 14-7 loss against current BWSL champions Leeds Rhinos

Leamington Royals made history as the very first midlands team to compete in the competition and, whilst they didn’t make it through to finals day, they did enjoy a fantastic 23-0 win against Oldham. The Royals were in Group A of the competition alongside Warrington Wolves and Huddersfield Giants with The Wire winning all three of their matches to book a June date at Salford Stadium. 

Current Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup holders St Helens topped their group after convincing victories against Featherstone Rovers, Hull KR and Newcastle Thunder - Thunder competing in their first competitive fixtures since forming. 

Wigan Warriors were the remaining team to book their finals place after winning all three of their games against Leigh Leopards, Castleford Tigers and London Broncos. Wigan’s squad contained several of their Academy graduates, including Beri Salihi and Grace Banks, who both impressed on the day.

The Rugby Football League’s Head of Development, Thomas Brindle, says: 
“First of all, I would like to congratulate all of the teams who took part in this year’s Festival. It was a fantastic occasion that really showcased how much progress is being made in the Women’s and Girls’ game, there were some fantastic contests throughout the day and each team can be proud of their efforts. 

“We created this event so that all of our tier two teams had the chance to compete in a high-quality competition with teams from across the country and by bringing the tournament to one location, it also gave young fans a chance meet their heroes and get a glimpse of some of the games promising young players.

“As we expected, our workshop was very well received and the session delivered by England Women Rugby League Captain, Jodie Cunningham, alongside England Assistant Coach, Derek Hardman and Warrington Wolves Women & Girls Officer Ryan Cartledge was really insightful.

“We are now looking forward to Finals Day at Salford Stadium in June with tickets now on sale. The event promises to be another thrilling day of Women’s Rugby League so I would really encourage anyone interested to get their tickets now – it won’t disappoint.”

Warrington Wolves, York Valkyrie, St Helens, Leeds Rhinos and Wigan Warriors will all play in the Women’s Rugby League Nines Finals Day on Saturday 24 June, alongside one wildcard team which will be confirmed shortly. 

Last year, York Valkyrie and Leeds Rhinos faced off in the inaugural Women's Rugby League Nines Final with a dazzling sidestep from York’s Stanley in the pouring rain being the difference during the title decider. 

Both teams had to make it through a group stage and Semi-Final on the day and this year’s event is expected to be the same format.

Tickets for this year’s Finals Day are on sale now starting at £5 for children and £10 for adults. All tickets can be purchased here.