In the first match of an England double header at the DW Stadium in Wigan it was the England Women who took on Canada in the opening round two match of the Women´s World Cup. England were looking for a second victory to almost guarantee their progression to the semi-finals, Canada needed the victory to keep their hopes alive after losing to Papua New Guinea in the opening round.
The hosts are ranked as World number three side while the Ravens are sixth, but the bookies and pundits were predicting a walkover for England as they were handicapped by forty-six points on the coupon, Canada 25/1 for the win with England an unbackable 1/500.
Just forty second had elapsed when England crossed for their opening try of the game with Leah Burke taking the pass and sliding over by the left corner flag. The video referee was consulted but confirmed the four-pointer. Tara Stanley´s conversion attempt fell short of the uprights.
England did well defensively to repel a couple of promising Canadian attacks as the Ravens took the game deep into England territory showing that they wouldn’t be a walkover.
After absorbing the Canadian pressure England worked their way downfield with Hollie-May Dodd doing brilliantly to pick up a poor pass and step off both feet to dive over and double the lead. Stanley was again off target, England 8-0 ahead.
On twenty minutes Georgia Wilson was on hand to take a Courtney Winfield-Hill pass after she collected a cross-field kick, the winger going in on the overlap. Stanley found the target from wide for a healthy 14-0 lead.
Dodd went in again for her second of the half as she found an ocean of space after taking the pass from Winfield-Hill. Stanley was on target again for 20-0. England in total charge after withstanding the early onslaught from the Ravens.
A sensational try from Fran Goldthorp, zigzagging through the Canadian defence from forty metres to go over with a back of the scrum play. Stanley was wide with the conversion attempt.
Anything Goldthorp can do, Georgia Roche can do better as she threw the dummy and evaded the tacklers to sprint fifty metres to score under the uprights. Stanley improved her kicking percentage to fifty as she scored from in front of the sticks for 30-0 at the interval.
England scored within the first minute again, this time Stanley going in after a great break down the centre of the field. She converted superbly from the touchline. Within three minutes it was a brace for Stanley as she fended off some woeful defending from the Ravens to score in the corner. This time she was wide with the conversion effort.
On forty-seven Canada avoided the nilling with Petra Woods taking full advantage of England knocking-on from the kick off as she took the pass and avoided three tacklers to score. Maddy Aberg was unable to add the extras.
It was normal service resumed on fifty-one, Carrie Roberts in support to finish off after taking a Winfield-Hill pass. Stanley again off target with the conversion attempt, the scoreboard on all fours with England 44-4 ahead.
Megan Pakulis was held up over the line for Canada on fifty-six as England survived another set of six.
Stanley completed her hat trick on the hour mark, again on hand to take a Goldthorp pass and dive in with plenty of space to exploit in a tiring Canada defence. This time Stanley nailed the conversion to put England 50-4 ahead.
The eleventh England try came on sixty-six with Burke getting her second after gathering a Winfield-Hill cross-field kick and scoring in the corner after going over the top of the defender. Stanley missed the conversion, again from wide, not her best afternoon with the boot.
England have edged towards the semi-finals with another comprehensive and professional win. They demolished the Ravens in a clinical matter, the only blott on the copy book being the missed conversions from Stanley. Engloand will not look to fine tune next Wednesday against Papua New Guinea ahead of the knockout stages.
England: Goldthorp (T), Wilson (T), Stanley (3T, 5G), Roberts (T), Burke (2T), Roche (T), Winfield-Hill, Hoyle, Bennett, Travis, Dodd (2T), Rudge, Molyneux. Subs: Whitfield, Stott, Hornby, Anderson.
Canada: Gauto, Jones, Aberg, Woods (T), Mueller, Mariu, McDaid, Sargent, Tam, Okonkwo, Hindley, Choboter, Pakulis. Subs: Evans, Steele, Douglas, Siciliano.
Score Progression: 4-0, 8-0, 12-0, 14-0, 18-0, 20-0, 24-0, 28-0, 30-0 : HT : 34-0, 36-0, 40-0, 40-4, 44-4, 48-4, 50-4, 54-4: FT .
Lead Exchanges: England.
Referee: Paki Parkinson.
Attendance: 23,179 at the DW Stadium, Wigan.