Castleford Tigers Ladies suffered only their second defeat of the season when they went down 34-12 to European Champions Thatto Heath St Helens.
Up against strong opposition, the Tigresses soon knew they were in for a difficult game as the visitors scored two early tries through Tara Stanley and Alex Simpson. Both efforts were scored down the right wing as the current domestic champions set a high pace to the match.
Castleford struck back thanks to a try from Shanelle Mannion, who was picked out by Katie Hepworth when the ball was moved right.
Thatto were soon back on the offensive and extended their lead when Stanley scored her second try. They carried on the momentum and their efforts were further rewarded with a try from Faye Gaskin just before half-time.
After the break, it was Castleford who enjoyed the better start. Hepworth ran rings round the Thatto defence and scored a superb solo try to take her side to within 10 points of Thatto.
However, two tries in quick succession from Naomi Williams put the reigning European champions 30-8 ahead.
Despite that, Castleford remained resilient and reaped the rewards for their hard work when Georgie Hetherington scored her fifth try in three games.
Maisie Birdsall intercepted a pass and charged through the centre before Hetherington received possession and scored on the left wing.
As the final whistle edged ever closer, Thatto produced one more try, Jenny Welsby’s grubber kick falling into the path of Rachel Thompson to make the final score 34-12.
After the game Castleford head coach Lindsay Anfield said: “We came into this game off the back of a few wins, but wins where we hadn’t played particularly well.
“We have been lacking in urgency and aggression and have been happy to just get by.
“I asked the girls for a big performance and today every player turned up and put in a shift. They were up for it and played some tidy rugby.
“Although the scoreline wasn’t in our favour we really competed today.
“As a very young team we are on the right road and hopefully we have set the bar so we can kick on again next week against Stanningley.”