22nd November 2017, 13:46 | englandrl

England Women fall short in dramatic finish

England Women fall short in dramatic finish

England Women 16-22 Cook Islands

Despite a valiant fight back from England Women, they were defeated 16-22 by The Cook Islands in their final group game of the Women’s Rugby League World Cup.

England started the game with intent in their opening set as Shona Hoyle burst through The Cook Islands defence but Lois Forsell was unable to handle the quick offload.

The Cook Islands saw a gap on the left edge though and Beniamina Koiatu opened the scoring for the afternoon.

With seven minutes of the game played, Tara-Jane Stanley spilled a Cook Islands last tackle kick to gift the opposition possession 10m out from the try line. Fortunately for England, they knocked-on at the play of the ball to keep the score 0-4.

The Cook Islands continued to push for another try, as first their last tackle kick rebounded off an England hand to give them a fresh set of six tackles 20m out from the line. England then conceded back-to-back penalties which gave the side extra work to keep The Cook Islands from scoring again.

Sarah Dunn failed to collect a last-tackle kick and The Cook Islands hard work paid off as Katelyn Arona forced her way over the line under the posts. Chantelle Schofield converted to take the lead to 0-10.

The Cook Islands added a further try before half-time as Cecelia Strickland scored on the right edge. Schofield successfully converted again to take the score to 0-16 at half-time.

England came out firing in the second-half as Emma Slowe found a hole in The Cook Islands strong defence to score and Claire Garner converted.

The opposition were almost through again shortly after their last tackle kick was knocked in to touch by England winger Kayleigh Bulman but they were unable to capitalise on their field position.

A knock-on by The Cook Islands gave England possession 30m out from the line and Amy Hardcastle was able to touch down for her second try of the tournament as she raced through the defensive line to score and closed the gap to just four points.

A failed intercept by Cook Islands hooker Arona gifted England a fresh set of six tackles metres out and Amy Hardcastle looked to be over for another try before the referee deemed the pass forward.

Hardcastle made another break moments later on the right edge but was bundled in to touch.

Back-to-back penalties awarded to England allowed Faye Gaskin to slip a grubber kick through the defensive line and Jessica Speakman looked to score but the video referee deemed it no try. 

Moments later England had another chance as they looked to play the ball out to the right wing but full-back Jodie Cunningham knocked on.

With four minutes remaining of the game, Kayleigh Bulman scored from a Gaskin kick in the left hand corner to bring the score level. Claire Garner was unable to convert from the touch-line.

In dramatic fashion The Cook Islands scored with seconds remaining on the clock and converted to secure their first victory of the World Cup.




Emma Slowe 46”

Amy Hardcastle 54”

Kayleigh Bulman 76”


Claire Garner (2)


Cook Islands

Beniamina Koiatu 2”

Katelyn Arona 30”

Cecelia Strickland 33”



Chantelle Schofield (3)