Sunderland Flames 24 - Barnsley Ladies 22
Ladies suffer first league defeat
The ladies suffered their first league defeat at the weekend at the hands of Sunderland Flames.
Barnsley was without several first team regulars for this rearranged match.
Although Barnsley had won the last two encounters between the teams. Sunderland recently beat second place Birkenhead which gave the league title to the ladies so they were under no illusion that this was going to be a difficult match.
Barnsley started brightly but Sunderland's defence held firm and after 8 minutes Sunderland got on the scoreboard with a try and conversion. 4 minutes later they doubled their lead.
Barnsley kept plugging away and were rewarded themselves on 20 minutes with try from Rosie Whittaker and conversion from Alix Taylor to close the gap.
Right on half time Sunderland was awarded a penalty which they duly converted to extend their lead
HALF TIME: Sunderland 17 Barnsley 7
Barnsley came out in the second half again pushing Sunderland back into their own half again the pressure paid off when Claire Fisher touched down for Barnsley's second try again captain Alix Taylor slotted home the conversion.
The game was marred slightly by some dubious decisions by the referee who had Hannah Greenaway removed from the pitch for a so called a head injury when it was clearly an injury under the eye, This was compounded by the fact that the referee had stopped the game twice for head injuries to Sunderland players but still allowed them to carry on playing.
Barnsley were awarded a penalty on 27 minutes which Alix Taylor once again dispatched to bring the scores level.
Barnsley then took the lead when Hailey Swann touched down in the corner with 5 minutes to go but this time the conversion was missed.
Sunderland came back at Barnsley and right at the death scored a try in the corner to once again level the scores. The conversion was kicked which under the circumstances with the pressure and angle was a superb effort to win the match. The referee blew for full time with jubilant scenes from the Sunderland squad.
It then turned a little farcical as the referee asked the Sunderland players why they were celebrating after losing has he had the final score as 21-22 to Barnsley. It took the coaches from both sides to convince him the score was in fact 24-22.
Barnsley picked up a losing bonus point but as they had already secure the league title this was of little consequence to the overall league table.