Sarah Beaney Cup preview for Sunday 17th March: runners, riders and verdict

Corstorphine Cougars host Stirling County at Union Park on Sunday

Corstorphine host Stirling County on Sunday in the only Sarah Beaney Cup game this weekend. Image: Peter Watt.
Corstorphine host Stirling County on Sunday in the only Sarah Beaney Cup game this weekend. Image: Peter Watt.

THERE is just one re-arranged Sarah Beaney Cup group stage match being played on Sunday, but it is an important one with Corstorphine and Stirling County bolstered by the return Celtic Challenge players for a match the both really need to win to stay in the hunt to make the top two and therefor qualify for the final.

Corstorphine are currently third in the table with 11 points after two wins from three, while County are fifth on 10 points after returning the same record so far. Watsonians lead the way on 21 points after five games and Hillhead Jordanhill are on a perfect 20 points from four matches in second.

At the end of the seven-team pool stage (meaning six games each), the top two will play in the final as part of Silver Saturday on April 27th at Murrayfield.


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After Sunday’s match, last year’s runners-up Corstorphine still have Hills (March 23rd) and Heriot’s Blues (April 6th) to play while Stirling’s last two pool outings are versus Heriot’s and Garioch on the same dates.

These two sides have had some cracking battles in recent years. In 2022-23, Stirling won the Premiership final while, in the top flight this season, Stirling came out on top 31-30 at Bridgehaugh in September and were then victors at Union Park 26-14 in November.

How it stands –

 

The Lowdown –

Corstorphine v Stirling County

Venue: Union Park @ 2pm

Teams –

Corstorphine: K Honjigawa; L Young, M Welsh, H Ramsay, E Mullen; T Griffith, P Benson; E Donaldson, K Fraser, K Lindsay, C Hadley, A Ferrie, E Turner©, R Laurenson, L Kidd. Subs: E Sword, L Green, H Heath, A Anderson, Z Turner, L Campbell, B Douglas.

Stirling County: S Phimister; F Keys, C McLaren, ⁠Ciorstaidh Ainsworth, S Murdoch; Ceitidh Ainsworth, J Murdoch©; A Luke, A Sutcliffe, C Brown, A Love, S Murphy, H Bogan, S Taganekurukuru, R Cox. Subs: E Fleming, A Hopwood, P Aitken-Robinson, E Quigley, B Henderson, E Middleditch, S Mitchell.

Key clash: Emma Turner versus Holland Bogan

Team news –

Corstorphine: Alex Stewart and Merryn Gunderson are unavailable for selection as they are in the Scotland squad, but the likes of Hannah Ramsay, Katie Lindsay, Adelle Ferrie, captain Emma Turner and others are back from recent Celtic Challenge involvement.

Stirling County: Alex Love and Sophie Murphy are back in the squad and they team up in the second-row. Elsa Quigley returns from injury and starts on the bench.

What the coaches say –

“It’s been good having players back into the squad after their stint in the Celtic Challenge and they’ve integrated well. During that period we’ve also seen players develop at the club which has resulted in Halle Heath and Lily Campbell earning places on the bench as they’ve impressed in recent matches as well as at training …” – Eric Jones (Corstorphine)

“It’s never an easy trip to Union Park and we will need to be at our best to compete …” – Mark Ainsworth (Stirling County)

Verdict: This should be a good game between two sides who have massively helped to raise the standards in the women’s club game in recent times. Corstorphine are a tough nut to crack at home and having strong ball carriers like Adelle Ferrie and Emma Turner back will aid their cause, but County have some key personnel like Sophie Murphy back too and may just edge it if their pack get the upper hand.

Tight away win.


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About Gary Heatly 455 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.

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