Sarah Beaney Cup: Abernethy twins face-off in Watsonians versus Hillhead Jordanhill clash

Family bonds will be set aside for 80 minutes during Silver Saturday showdown between two long0standing rivals from opposite ends of M8

Caitlin and Philippa Abernethy with their dad Gordon ahead of Saturday's Sarah Beaney Cup Final clash between Watsonians and Hillhead Jordanhill at Murrayfield.
Caitlin and Philippa Abernethy with their dad Gordon ahead of Saturday's Sarah Beaney Cup Final clash between Watsonians and Hillhead Jordanhill at Murrayfield.

SILVER SATURDAY will be a memorable day for many families, but you get the feeling that for the Abernethy clan it might just be that extra bit special.

Often on finals day over the years we have seen siblings playing in the same teams, however, not often have siblings come up against each other on the showpiece day of the club rugby calendar.

That is set to happen in the Sarah Beaney Cup Final when Philippa Abernethy’s Hillhead Jordanhill take on twin sister Caitlin Abernethy’s Watsonians at 4.30pm at Murrayfield this Saturday. Tickets available HERE.

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And, just to add to the intrigue, the sisters both play in the front-row and may well come up against each other in direct competition at some point during the 80 minutes.

That is exactly what happened in the final two years ago, when Philippa started at loose-head and Caitlin was at tight-head in a game that Hillhead went on to win 10-5.

This will be the fourth final of the last five years between these two sides, with Hillhead currently leading 2-1, but given that Watsonians beat them 31-25 recently in the last group stage match of this year’s competition, and both clubs have all of their Celtic Challenge players back, this one really could go either way.

Philippa said:  “It’s funny now because we have played Watsonians so many times over the last few years I am almost used to playing against my sister now and I don’t think about it too much.

“Back in the 2019-20 season, when we played against each other in the Premiership final, I think that was the first time we had played against each other and the feeling back then was a bit different, it felt quite strange.

“For so many years growing up down south and then playing together at Glasgow University we had always been in the same team. Then suddenly we were in opposition to each other and it took a bit of getting used to, but now it has happened so many times we just focus on the game and then catch up afterwards win or lose.

“What is really nice when we play against each other is that our mum and dad can come and watch us both on the same pitch.

“Like most mums, our mum will probably be watching on Saturday with her hands over her eyes hoping no one gets hurt, while dad will be engrossed.

“One of my friends also knitted him a half Hillhead Jordanhill and half Watsonians hat and that means he can always remain neutral!”

Caitlin added:  “As Philippa mentioned, it will be really nice to have mum and dad there watching us because they have supported us all through the years and now live in Kintyre having relocated from down south.

“It will be a special day for the family whatever happens, but I am in a similar boat to my sister in that I don’t think too much now about that individual dual against her because it has now happened a few times and the matches with Hills are always so close and hard-fought.

“It’s actually pretty fun playing against each other and then comparing notes afterwards and I think we are both just happy for each other that we are at clubs that we really enjoy and clubs that are doing well.”



As props – Philippa plays loose and tight-head and Caitlin mainly tight – the 29-year-olds have benefitted from working alongside front-rowers of differing experience at training with their respective clubs..

Since joining Hillhead ahead of the 2019-20 season after recovering from an operation, Philippa has been able to tap into the knowledge of evergreen Heather Lockhart, who earned 89 caps for Scotland and still plays at club level.

And Caitlin, who joined Watsonians in January 2019, has been working hard with young prop Molly Poolman who impressed many with her performances for Edinburgh Rugby in the Celtic Challenge earlier this year.

Philippa began playing rugby aged nine at the Havant club down south with Caitlin following her aged 13. Havant, Petersfield and Basingstoke then came together and made a team called the Solent Sirens and they played in England until both studying in Glasgow a few years back.

In terms of the Sarah Beaney Cup this year, Hillhead Jordanhill won five from five in the group stage before losing to Watsonians in the previously mentioned game which was on April 6th at West of Scotland’s Burnbrae.

Watsonians won five and lost one overall to top the standings on points difference, with both teams finishing on 26 points.

Hillhead finished third in the Premiership before Christmas and Philippa, who is Vice-President of the overall club, said:  “Things built steadily through the league and then the Cup run has been really good. With players away on Celtic Challenge duties at times, others had to step up and they did that really well, showing the benefit of having a 2nd XV.

“The players who were in the Celtic Challenge have been great since they came back and the squad feels in a good place heading into the final.”

Watsonians were unbeaten in the league, but lost the final to Stirling County and Caitlin said:  “We were obviously disappointed to lose that one, but we are a close-knit group and everyone regrouped and refocused quickly.

“The Sarah Beaney Cup has become really important to us in recent years – this is the fifth final in a row the club has been in – and we really worked hard during the group stage while players were away at the Celtic Challenge.

“What typified that spirit was going up to Stirling with 15 players and, although we lost, picking up a losing bonus point which, in the end, was really important in terms of getting us to Murrayfield.”


  • Buy your tickets for Silver Saturday by clicking HERE.

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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.

1 Comment


    A fine article on the ( identical ) twins with little real reference to sibling rivalry.

    Caitlins squad won the day but the formidable Philippa carried well throughout and should not be too disappointed at the overall outcome !!


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