Sarah Beaney Cup Final: Watsonians come from behind to defeat Corstorphine Cougars

Hillhead Jordanhill 2nd XV, West of Scotland and Grangemouth also get their hands on silverware

Watsonians won the Sarah Beaney Cup after a dramatic final. image: Graham Gaw
Watsonians won the Sarah Beaney Cup after a dramatic final. image: Graham Gaw

Watsonians 26

Corstorphine Cougars 25

GARY HEATLY @ Murrayfield

WATSONIANS battled back from 10-0 down after six minutes to win a thrilling Sarah Beaney Cup final against Corstorphine Cougars.

The Union Park outfit really looked like they meant business early on, but ‘Sonians settled and added to their win in this event in 2018-19.

“I thought the leaders in the squad did a great job to help the girls turn this one around, because at 10-0 down early on things were looking tricky for us,” Watsonians head coach Bruce Millar said. “If Cougars had scored another try then heads might have gone down, but we scored from basically our first attack and built from there.

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“Captain Briar McNamara and Francesca McGhie are such different players in the centres, but they complimented each other well and the team worked hard to create space for them. We then showed good game management late on and the girls can be proud of their achievement.”

It was Cougars who got off to the perfect start. They scored two tries in the first six minutes, firstly winger Rheo Laurenson going over on the left and then, after some slight of foot from former Scotland stand-off Tanya Griffith, second-row Adelle Ferrie scored in the same spot. Both conversion attempts from full-back Kiyomi Honjigawa just missed and it was 10-0.

Watsonians tried to get a foothold in the game, but by the end of the first quarter they were still 10 points down and Ferrie had just had a good break through the middle which they did well to defend.

The Myreside outfit needed some inspiration and it came from McNamara. She burst through and then floated a pass to winger Mary Nelson who took it well and ran in a try from 40 metres. McNamara converted to make it 10-7.

And on the half hour mark ,McNamara went over for an unconverted try of her own to put Watsonians ahead 12-10.

A penalty from Honjigawa gave Cougars a slender one-point lead after 35 minutes and this was a much closer match than the opening exchanges had suggested it might be.


Five minutes into the second period, McGhie added another cracking try to her CV after the one for Scotland against Ireland last weekend. The 19-year-old got the ball on the edge of her own 22 and left the defence chasing shadows, showing great pace to score under the posts. McNamara converted and it was suddenly 19-13 to Watsonians.

And the same player was at it again in the 54th minute, once more finding an outside shoulder and then gliding past last defender Griffith to run in from 40 metres. McNamara converted and it was 26-13.

With 19 minutes to go, a loose clearance kick from Watsonians gave Cougars a chance. The ball bounced up perfectly for the experienced Griffith and she ran it in on the left for an unconverted third try.

With 15 minutes to go, Watsonians then lost replacement Karis Craig to the sin bin to make the finale even more interesting.

Towards the end of that 10 minutes against 14, Cougars finally made their player advantage count, back-row Luise Lauter going over for their fourth try. Honjigawa converted and it was a one-point game at 26-25.

Watsonians then managed to hold their nerve at the end, McNamara kicking the ball out with the clock in the red to spark celebrations.

Cougars have now lost the Premiership final and the Cup final this term and head coach Eric Jones said:  “It is a tough defeat to take, but I am immensely proud of the girls and everything they have done this season.

“We said before the match that the result would not define how far the women’s section of the club has come as we are making real strides.

“The team got off to a great start and imposed themselves on the game, but we switched off a bit later in the first half and we were punished for that.

“Francesca McGhie scored a couple of great tries for them and our heads could have gone down, but the girls are a strong bunch and they made a real fight of things right until the end.

“It’ll take a wee while to get over this one, but there are plenty of positives to build on going forward and, as I say, the squad can be proud.”


Teams –

Watsonians: J Lyons; M Nelson, F McGhie, B McNamara©, C Runcie; S Clements, R Law; A Tucker, K King, C Abernethy, A Swan, S Donnelly, F Walker, G Laverty, S Anderson. Subs: S Kearley, M Poolman, J Menday, K Craig, C Bain, A Hughes, S Macey.

Corstorphine Cougars: K Honjigawa; R Laurenson, A Clark, S Callender, L Young; T Griffith, Z Turner; E Dunbar, L Park, K Fraser, L Kidd, A Ferrie, L Lauter, A Stewart, E Turner©. Subs: L Green, M Gunderson, L Glendinning, P Benson, L McGrotty, E Mullen, R Bestwick.

Referee: Chelsea Gillespie.


Scorers –

Watsonians: Tries: Nelson, McNamara, McGhie 2. Cons: McNamara 3.

Corstorphine Cougars: Tries: Laurenson, Ferrie, Griffith, Lauter. Pen: Honjigawa. Con: Hongigawa.

Scoring Sequence (Watsonians first): 0-5; 0-10; 5-10; 7-10; 12-10; 12-13 (h-t); 17-13; 19-13; 24-13; 26-13; 26-18; 26-23; 26-25.


Yellow card –

Watsonians: Craig (65 mins).


Player-of-the-Match: Stand-off Tanya Griffith started well for Cougars and they got their big carriers into things early on while Francesca McGhie showed individual quality for her two Watsonians tries. However, Briar McNamara, the Watsonians captain, helped pull her team up after a tough start and showed quality in attack and defence to take the award.

Talking point: Cougars will rue not capitalising on their fast start. They were 10-0 up after six minutes, but, as their head coach says, switched off a bit and did not build on the momentum. The way Watsonians came back is testament to their leadership group and calmness under pressure.


Meanwhile …

National Bowl Final: Perthshire 10 Hillhead Jordanhill 2nd XV 100

Player-of-the-Match Lou Brett scored four tries from full-back as Hillhead Jordanhill 2nd XV won the National Bowl final 100-10 against Perthshire at the DAM Health Stadium.

The full-back was joined by centre Beth Tobin who also scored four while Hazel Mulligan and Inaya Haque ran in two each. Scrum-half Chloe Drew, back-row Rowan Davidson, loose-head Francesca Wood and No 8 Megan Milligan also scored. Stand-off Millie Warren kicked well, too.

Perthshire’s tries came from winger Catherine Lambie and back-row Sarah Blackwood.

Hillhead Jordanhill were big winners over Perthshire in the National Bowl.Image: © Craig Watson -
Hillhead Jordanhill were big winners over Perthshire in the National Bowl. Image: © Craig Watson –


National Shield Final: West of Scotland 19 Cartha Queens Park 2nd XV 12

West of Scotland edged past Cartha Queens Park 2nd XV 19-12 at Murrayfield to win the National Shield. Winger Rowan Todd scored the opening try for West and then centre Emily Irving, the co-captain, went over for a second converted by stand-off Alexa Smith it was 12-0.

Loose-head Lynsey Torrance’s five pointer gave Cartha hope before the break, then Amy Donaghy scored a try converted by stand-off Samantha Cockburn to make it 12-12 midway through the second half.

With eight minutes to go, West No 8 Alex Watson, later named Player-of-the-Match, scored the winning try, Smith converting for 19-12.

West of Scotland got the better of Cartha Queens Park 2nd XV in the National Shield Final.Image: © Craig Watson -
West of Scotland got the better of Cartha Queens Park 2nd XV in the National Shield Final. Image: © Craig Watson –


National Plate Final: Oban Lorne 22 Grangemouth 31

Grangemouth managed to get past Oban Lorne after an entertaining game to win the National Plate at the DAM Health Stadium.

Winger Amy Coyle’s converted try had Grangemouth 7-0 up before scores from centre Kirsty Sinclair and No 8 Rebecca Sims had Oban Lorne 12-7 ahead.

Centre Poppy McKillop’s try then put Oban Lorne 10 points clear before an important converted try for Grangemouth second-row Rachael Cook made it 17-14 at the interval.

Grangemouth sub Sarah McCormack and Oban Lorne then swapped tries to leave the latter team 22-19 up with 16 minutes to go.

The Grangemouth team were not done yet though and Coyle’s second try and then one from replacement Zubie Chaston got them over the line.

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About Gary Heatly 463 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.