North East rugby was given a much needed boost at the weekend in a season were there has been more talk of relegation than of promotion among clubs in the area who might well otherwise have been tipped for success, with Garioch Ladies coming out on top against Stewartry Sirens in a pulsating National League One play-off final on Sunday.
It was a fiercely but fairly contested game. Indeed, with a bit of luck the Castle Douglas side might well have made the 249 mile trek back down the road with a place secured next season’s Premiership.
In the event it was the home side who eased through 19-10 which, given the fact they had already beaten Sunday’s opponents twice on National League 1 business, could reasonably be called a triumph of justice.
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Stuart Corsar, the Garioch head coach, certainly thought so. ”It was an epic final which I thought we just shaded with a controlled performance but fair play to Stewartry who after such an early start and long bus journey ran us close,” he said.
The former Glasgow Warriors and Aberdeen Grammar player was also keen to highlight the significance of the North East needing a boost. “It’s not been a good season for local clubs, including Grammar and Gordonians who have been struggling in their respective leagues, while there is no clear evidence of any local Caley clubs making a push for promotion to the National Leagues. Our win today hopefully puts a smile back on the face of the North East game,” he said.
Jess Silcocks, the Garioch captain who is also a Scottish Rugby ambassador for the game was delighted to have led the team to victory, witnessed by a bumper crowd, arguably the biggest turnout for any game in the area, all intent on cheering their heroines home.
“It’s a great day for the club. We have worked hard to get to the top league. We aim to make Kellands Park a fortress for visiting Premiership sides next season,” she said before singling out Nikki Simpson her hard working No 8 as the game’s stand out performer..
Simpson is also the club’s development officer and has played for Premiership club Cartha Queens Park.
Bob Richmond, the Scottish Rugby Council’s North Regional rep presented the league trophy. ”Well done to Garioch. It was a great game of rugby and a wonderful advert for the sport, played in front of such an enthusiastic, big crowd,” he said.
Having watched the progress of ladies rugby time is right for the Premiership to be expanded to 8 teams as of next season. This years Premiership involved teams who were all competitive and well run. Cartha should not be relegated, one of the shining lights in our woman’s game. Stewartry and Garioch should both be promoted, both deserve a chance in the Premiership, they would give a good geographical distribution in the Premiership and with Scotland reaching the WC finals interest in the game will not be higher. I hope dense prevails as we continue to develop the woman’s game.
Congratulations to Garioch
Think you need to go back and check the Caley 1 league Stuart. Orkney are 5 games behind current leaders Dunfermline. I would expect them to be top at the end of the season.
I would contest any view that Orkney is local to Aberdeen!
But local in a Caley context usually involves a lot of miles.