SAINTS were denied a place at the University of Bolton Stadium for the Final of the Women’s Challenge Cup after suffering an agonising late defeat to Leeds Rhinos.

With the game locked at 10-10 in the final 10 Saints went for a long range drop goal, which was fielded by the quickest player on the field.

Leeds full back Caitlin Beevers collected, evaded the first two tacklers and then sped down field - once the full back was beaten it was a foot race she was never going to lose.

Saints still did not give up - and a storming run from the outstanding second row Emily Rudge was only halted by a high tackle.

As Saints threw caution to the wind Channy Crowl’s wide pass was missed by her winger and the cup dream was over.

In front of a large crowd close to 750, Saints started well and put Rhinos under pressure and the pack forced numerous errors .

Coming up to quarter time the Saints took the lead after a storming run from Claire Mullaney was halted on the line. A quick heel saw Jodie Cunningham weave her way over from dummy half.

Beth Stott converted to give Saints a six-point lead.

Another strong run by Mullaney was only foiled by a ball steal, with Stott increasing the lead to eight with the penalty.

Leeds did respond before the break when Shannon Lacey showed good strength to get her arm free for a second go at the try line despite the attention of three tacklers.

Saints started the second half with renewed vigour and the Rhinos were often clinging on - often relying on borderline offside tactics and holding down to keep their line intact.

Another surging run from Rudge was stopped short - with Rhinos flopping on in the tackle resulting in a sin-binning.

Stott converted the penalty to push the gap out to six again and Saints were in the driving seat.

Alas, they paid for a lack patience as they cranked up the pressure and that left the Rhinos off the hook.

Three penalties saw the Saints camped on the Leeds line - and they maybe should have kicked one to give then a two score lead but it was not to be and the game turned with a Sophie Nuttall try.