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Bdr Bethan Dainton (RA) became the first senior woman to experience playing at both Twickenham and Wembley when she ran out with Leeds Rhinos to play St Helens in the Challenge Cup final on Saturday afternoon.

Bdr Dainton has been a regular at Twickenham over the past two years for both the Army Senior Women and Barbarians, but with the back rower having established herself as a Rhino during the course of the 2023 campaign, and this year’s Challenge Cup final being the first time that women’s teams were part of the RFL’s showpiece occasion, there was little question of history being made.

This happened when Bdr Dainton was named in the Leeds starting line-up, but while the teams put on a competitive match for the thousands in the stadium and everyone watching on TV, St Helens took control with three quickfire tries before going on to secure the title with a 22-8 final result.

“We have got a lot of young players and for a lot of players this was their first experience of a big game,” said Leeds coach, Lois Forsell.

“They have got to hold their heads high and be proud, but there’s lots for us to learn. At the key moments in the game, Saints just edged us in having that composure to stick to what they had to do.

“We will have a good long chat about where we need to be better. We have got a very good group and a very close group, but we just fell short.”

Meanwhile in France, SSgt Dean Bradley (RAPTC) came home from the European Touch Rugby Championships with a Gold medal after helping the England Men’s 40 team complete an unbeaten tournament which culminated in a memorable win over France.

This was SSgt Bradley’s first tournament with England, and the Army Rugby stalwart scored six tries in his six appearances over the course of the four-day event in Vichy.

Overall England won nine Gold medals and a Bronze from the 10 categories being played.

Words © New Dogs, Old Tricks

Header and featured images © Alligin Photography – Army v Navy Match