Celtic Challenge: Glasgow Warriors come up short again away to Gwalia Lightning

Late Ailie Tucker double provides some comfort on tough afternoon in Cardiff

Glasgow Warriors women. Image: Craig Watson
Image: Craig Watson

Gwalia Lightning 36

Glasgow Warriors 19

GLASGOW WARRIORS have now lost two from two in the Celtic Challenge competition after this 36-19 defeat to Gwalia Lightning in Wales on Sunday afternoon.

Like Edinburgh Rugby against the Irish Wolfhounds on Saturday, Glasgow found out that this tournament is going to be unforgiving and mistakes will be pounced upon.

At Cardiff Arms Park in the Welsh capital, the Lightning – with five Welsh caps in their 23 to Glasgow’s three Scots’ internationals – made it two wins from two and are now top of the table on points difference after running in three tries in each half to secure a bonus point triumph.

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For Glasgow, there was plus points, such as the performance of young Cartha Queens Park-product Holland Bogan (now Stirling County) in the back-row and the energy the bench players brought late on.

However, they spent a lot of time on the back foot and will have to learn how to look after possession better quickly or there could be a few tough weeks ahead.

“I was really proud of the effort of the player group to keep fighting to the end after a tough spell just after half-time,” said Warriors head coach Chris Laidlaw. “We showed that when we can get entries into the opposition 22 we are effective and can covert pressure into points. I thought there was some great attitude in our defence and we look forward to building on that over the next few weeks

“It was great to see some new Warriors get their chance alongside those who played last week, and we have a hungry group both that played in this game and at home who are desperate to play which is exactly what we need and want to develop through this programme. It was great to see Ellie Williamson play 80 minutes after returning from an ACL injury recently.

“I thought our set-piece functioned well today so with that platform we need to try and use that to continue applying pressure to the opposition and launch our attack.”

Lightning got off to a good start and had plenty of possession, but the Warriors defence stood firm and after 10 minutes it was still 0-0.

The first try of the game came in the 14th minute when, after a neat lineout move, No 8 Gwennan Hopkins burst onto the ball and went through the Glasgow defence for a well-worked score. Full-back Nel Metcalfe converted.

The hosts had their tails up and, a couple of minutes later, they were on the front foot and some five metres away from the Glasgow try line.

Scrum-half Mairi McDonald made a crucial turnover at the breakdown and won a penalty, but stand-off Ceitidh Ainsworth’s attempted kick to touch did not make it.

That put Gwalia back on the attack and a neat kick with the outside of her boot from home stand-off Carys Hughes set up winger Catherine Richards who picked up and went in for her third try of the tournament after a double in the opening win over Brython Thunder. It was unconverted and it was 12-0 with the first quarter coming to an end.

Glasgow then had their best attacking efforts to date and the likes of hooker Nikki Simpson, Bogan and No 8 Alex Love carried well before the opportunity was lost. Those few phases gave them hope though and, in the 26th minute, they got themselves on the scoresheet.

A good scrum on the right hand side ultimately allowed the ball to be spread left and winger Pearl Kellie made ground. A couple of phases later, Glasgow were awarded a penalty five metres out from the Lightning line and a quick tap by McDonald set up Bogan who crashed over the try line.

Centre Lucy MacRae’s conversion attempt hit the post and it was 12-5 and Glasgow now had a foothold in proceedings.

Hughes managed to score Lightning’s third try eight minutes before half-time, finding the outside edge of MacRae and just beating her tackle to dive over for an unconverted five-pointer.

That meant that it was 17-5 at half-time to the Welsh side who had dominated possession.


Gwalia Lightning came back out after the interval looking to sniff out the bonus point fourth try and the Warriors did well to keep them out – holding them up over the try line at one point – and the score was still 17-5 after 50 minutes.

In attack, Glasgow were just a bit frantic and were not stringing phases together and that was, in turn, inviting pressure back on themselves, although tight-head Eilidh Fleming did straighten and had one good carry which made yards.

Just before the hour mark Lightning scored the bonus point try. After back-row Lucy Isaac and Richards had gone close out wide, loose-head Abbey Constable took a more direct route and bulldozed through the middle to dot down. Metcalfe’s conversion hit the post and it was 22-5.

With 17 minutes to go, Glasgow winger Sky Phimister intercepted Isaac’s pass near the visitors’ try line and looked to be away, but the referee Jenny Davies called things back as it was penalty advantage to the hosts. And from that penalty they scored try number five with Hopkins, who was later named player-of-the-match, going in under the posts for her second of the day. Metcalfe converted and it was 29-5.

With 13 minutes to g,  try number six came for the Welsh side when scrum-half Sian Jones took a quick tap penalty and scuttled past a disorganised Warriors defence. Metcalfe converted.

Credit to Glasgow, they kept going until the end and, after sub back-row Sophie Anderson, Kellie and replacement hooker Karis Craig went close, Gwalia had a player yellow carded.

From the resultant penalty, Warriors scored a second try, sub loose-head Ailie Tucker making it two scores in two games from short-range.

MacRae converted and it was 36-12 and Tucker, the Biggar-product who now plays for Watsonians, then scored her second try of the afternoon under the posts, with Edinburgh University teenager MacRae again converting to ensure it finished 36-19.

Next up, Glasgow face the Wolfhounds at home next Saturday with a 2.30pm at Scotstoun.


Teams –

Gwalia Lightning: N Metcalfe; C Lewis, K Webster, M Anderson-Thomas, C Richards; C Hughes, S Jones; A Constable, M Reardon, J Scoble, E Jones, B King©, K Williams, L Isaac, G Hopkins. Subs: M Evans, S Waug, L Williams, M Davies, S Mead, K Deeks, J De Vera, K Davies.

Glasgow Warriors: K Honjigawa; S Phimister, C McLaren, L MacRae, P Kellie; C Ainsworth, M McDonald; D Swann, N Simpson, E Fleming, E Turner©, E Williamson, H Bogan, L Winter, A Love. Subs: K Craig, A Tucker, C Brown, S Anderson, I Hannay, R Clarke©, C McDonald, G Chicot.

Referee: Jenny Davies.


Scorers –

Gwalia Lightning: Tries: Hopkins 2, Richards, Hughes, Constable, S Jones. Cons: Metcalfe 3.

Glasgow Warriors: Tries: Bogan, Tucker 2. Cons: MacRae 2.

Scoring sequence (Gwalia Lightning first): 5-0; 7-0; 12-0; 12-5; 17-5 (h-t) 22-5; 27-5; 29-5; 34-5; 36-5; 36-10; 36-12; 36-17; 36-19.

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About Gary Heatly 441 Articles
Gary has loved rugby ever since he can remember and since 2004 he has covered the sport and others in a professional capacity for many publications and websites and runs his own company, GH Media.


  1. With a large number of our internationalists playing down in England it is going to be hard for our two ladies teams. The long term game will be more players being exposed to a higher level of rugby and will strengthen our National team.

    • Scoreline was no disgrace and even the single game last year helped to freshen the senior national squad and expose young players to a higher standard of rugby. Even in short term it has had a positive impact and long term it can only help. France and England are a few years ahead but 3rd place in 6n should be attainable/ competitive over next few seasons.

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