Sarah Beaney Cup: Watsonians, Hillhead Jordanhill and Heriot’s Blues lay down early markers

Tight contest at Union Park sees Corstorphine Cougars pipped at the post by reigning champions

Watsonians just managed to get the better of Corstorphine Cougars. Image: Pater Watt
Watsonians just managed to get the better of Corstorphine Cougars. Image: Pater Watt

REIGNING champions Watsonians, 2021-22 champions Hillhead Jordanhill and Heriot’s Blues all started their Sarah Beaney Cup campaigns with bonus point wins on Sunday.

To kick things off, Watsonians were at Corstorphine Cougars in a repeat of last year’s final, and it was a close match – as have been a number of other recent meetings between the clubs – with the hosts leading 12-10 up at half-time, before the visitors took control for a hard-fought 22-17 victory

Ami Conchie, captain Rachel Law, Mary Nelson and Susie Clements were the Watsonians try-scorers, with the latter also converting one; while Kaylee Fraser, co-captain Kiyomi Honjigawa and Faye Sutherland bagged the Corstorphine tries with Honjigawa converting one.


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“Credit to Watsonians, they took their chances, we didn’t,” Corstorphine head coach Eric Jones said. “We needed to convert the pressure we had in the 22 into points, [but] we were turned over three, maybe four, times within five metres of the line and even if we had taken one of those chances then it’s a different result.

“Watsonians did well to disrupt us there and they also, especially in the second half, frustrated us by breaking up any flow we had in attack. It was good to play the first game back after the break, but we know that it was an opportunity missed.”

At Hughenden, there was a Glasgow derby with Hillhead Jordanhill hosting Cartha Queens Park. The home side came out on top 55-15 with Beth Tobin leading the way with a hat-trick of tries.

Emma Barlow chipped in with two while ⁠Debbie Lee, ⁠Millie Warren, Hannah McHugh and skipper Hannah Telling all crossed the whitewash. Warren and Millie Grant also kicked points for the Hughenden outfit.

“It was a good start to the Cup campaign after a long winter break,”  said Stephen Gillies, Hills’ head coach. “We understood there’d be a settling in period to ‘blow the cobwebs off’ so to speak. From there on I was very happy with how the girls played as a team with some very good free flowing rugby in tricky conditions.

“And well done to Cartha for making it a tough match, it is clear that they’re developing in the right direction just now which is great to see.”

Captain Sammy Djoh and Siobhan McMillan scored Cartha’s tries while Caitlin Bell converted one and kicked a penalty.

“I’m proud of our performance despite the loss,” Cartha head coach Ally Hunter said. “We played some nice attacking rugby at times, some of our best this season, and we executed the points we have been working on in training well.

“We just need to be a bit more accurate and cut down our error count to allow ourselves to maintain the pressure on teams as dangerous as Hills.

“We had a tough league season, so it was great to see our player go out, express themselves positively in this match and enjoy themselves.”

 

At Goldenacre, Heriot’s Blues looked very sharp as they got the better of Garioch 83-12. Hannah Riddoch scored a hat-trick, Millie Capaldi went over for two and Amelia Evans, Mary McNee, Jade Courtney, Pearl Kellie, Eilidh Ashton, Ailsa Murray, Lisa Martin and Matilde Dadie also got in on the act for the Edinburgh outfit. Martin converted eight and Bethan Cameron one

“I was absolutely delighted with the energy and enthusiasm the team brought,” said Heriot’s head coach Craig Robertson “Having had such a long lay-off after the league it was a good way to start our Cup run.

“With two debutants – Tyne Jenkinson and Hannah Doward – joining our ranks I was particularly impressed with the way the team played for each other.

“Garioch never stopped fighting, even in the dying minutes of the game, so all credit to them for competing to the final whistle. Overall, it was a fantastic team performance.”

Sammy Ross, the captain, and Jess Silcocks were try scorers for Garioch with Amber Rose Love converting one and their head coach Dave Duguid said:  “The score got away from us, but I am still really happy as we gave squad players some game time, had a couple of other players back from injury and never stopped fighting. Heriot’s were very good and played a fast paced game which we could not cope with at times.”

The competition – which has been organised this year as a seven-team round-robin group phase to decide the two finalists – will continue this coming Sunday when Premiership champions Stirling County enter the fray.


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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.