Abi’s ramraid secures the points for Wolves


AN Abi Johnston try midway through the second half was enough to secure a hard-fought Women’s Super League victory for the Warrington Wolves against Barrow Raiders.

A healthy crowd at the Asics Stadium, Victoria Park, witnessed a bruising battle in the sunshine as the Wolves just edged out their Cumbrian visitors 10-6.
It had taken a piece of magic by hooker Dani Bound to open up the Barrow defence on 20 minutes with a scampering 25-yard tun to cross between the sticks.
Magraw added the extras but, despite a Rebecca Nixon effort in the corner that was ruled out for a forward pass from Dennis, the Wire were kept out by a strong and determined Barrow defence to send the teams in level at the break.
The game opened in lively fashion, with the home side dominating the opening exchanges. But good runs from full-back Anna Dennis and Nixon down the right wing couldn’t break down a determined barrow defence.

Dani Bound try

Dani Bound try

On the rare occasions the visitors crossed the halfway line, they were met by an equally tigerish defence, led by skipper Katie May Williams, the returning Abi Latchford and debutant Lucy Johnson, who replaced injured fellow prop Grace Burnet early in the first half.
And when Barrow spread the ball wide, Nixon, Dennis and Johnstone stood up the task of keeping their attacks at bay.
But it was the impressive Bound, playing through the pain barrier after taking a knock to the face early on, who was the standout player in the first half, with Wire losing some of their momentum when she failed to reappear after the break.
In a mistake ridden opening to the second half, Barrow began to assert themselves, led by the hard working second rower Vanessa Temple, hooker Beth Lindsay and scrum half Jodie Litherland. Full back Samantha Norman was also chiming into the line well after her defensive efforts of the first half.

As the heat began to take its toll on both teams, Barrow found away back into the game on the hour mark when Temple crashed over under the sticks on the back of a penalty and a six again for infringements by the Wolves at the ruck. Litherland added the extras.
Wire were back in the lead within minutes as a move which saw the ball go through several pairs of hands found Johnston on the wing, who then cut inside to score the decisive try. With Magraw missing the conversion, it meant a nervous final 15 minutes for the Wire to seal their second league win of the season.
Despite the narrow margin of victory, head coach Armani Sharrock was pleased with her team’s performance.

She said: “It was a tough game and we made it difficult for ourselves, but, defensively, we just kept turning up for each other.
“Anything that Barrow threw at us we were happy to keep working to keep them out.
“We are doing it tough at the minute because we have a lot of young players in the group but they are happy to keep turning up and working for each other.
“The most rewarding thing today is that they have stuck in the battle and they have come away with the points.”

Debutant Lucy Johnson, signed from Wigan earlier this month, was delighted with her performance.
She said: “The girls were really tough for me today and I felt part of the team straight away. It was just a great team performance altogether.
“We knew Barrow were going to be tough but we fought for 80 minutes for each other and it went our way.”

Warrington Wolves:
1 Anna Dennis
2 Abigail Johnston
3 Nicole Barnett
33 Albany Coates
5 Rebecca Nixon
6 Millie Bell
7 Charlize Magraw
8 Abi Latchford
9 Danni Bound
10 Grace Burnett
11 Katie May Williams
12 Sammi Simpson
20 Helena Turner
14 Jasmine Wilson
34 Lucy Johnson
16 Megan Condliffe
17 Louise Fellingham
18th player: 24 Oliva Hill

Barrow Raiders:
5 Samantha Norman
2. Emma Hutchinson
4. Claire Hutchinson
1. Michelle Larkin
24. Alice Rush
6. Demi Fisher
7. Jodie Litherland
14. Mia Dobson
9. Beth Lindsay
10. Jodie Morley
15. Leah Cottier
12. Vanessa Temple
11. Emily Stirzaker
Kelly Friend
Charlotte Todhunter
25. Bethany Armstrong
Hannah Sherlock
18th player: Laura Mellen


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