Sarah Beaney Cup: Watsonians see off Hillhead Jordanhill with first half blitz

Rachel Phillips stars as Myreside outfit make it three wins out of the last four in this competition

Watsonians were comprehensive winners over Hillhead Jordanhill in the Sarah Beaney Cup Final. Image: Peter Watt
Watsonians were comprehensive winners over Hillhead Jordanhill in the Sarah Beaney Cup Final. Image: Peter Watt

Watsonians 34

Hillhead Jordanhill 5

GARY HEATLY @ Murrayfield

WATSONIANS retained the Sarah Beaney Cup and have now won the tournament three times out of the last four after with a convincing defeat of Hillhead Jordanhill on Silver Saturday at Murrayfield.

When the sides met in the group stage a few weeks ago, Watsonians won 31-25 and a close final was expected, but three early tries and then a 29-0 lead after 29 minutes set the Edinburgh side up for a 34-5 win here.

Watsonians head coach Bruce Millar said:  “In any game of rugby, but especially big occasions like this, you want to come out of the blocks flying and I thought in the first half we played some of our best rugby of the season.

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“The forwards set the platform and when the backs were getting on the ball they were finding gaps and getting to the edge and scored some really good tries.

“In that period we were really clinical and that please me while the centre pairing of Briar McNamara and Rachel Philipps have different skill-sets, but complement each other very well.

“After losing the Premiership final in December, the girls regrouped quickly and have really put in the hard work since then and they got what they deserved here.

Rachel Law, captain and scrum-half, added:  “We started really well and played some of our best rugby of the season in the first half.

“I am delighted at the effort the girls put in and I felt we were deserved winners. I could not be prouder of the squad.’’

Watsonians took the lead after four minutes when centre Briar McNamara went over for a try. The same player converted and it was 7-0.

McNamara, who played well for Edinburgh Rugby in the Celtic Challenge, then went over for an unconverted effort, and when winger Ami Conchie scored a five-pointer in the 15th minute it was 17-0 and all Watsonians.

Hills were desperate to get a foothold in the game, but they could not get good field position and, in the 24th minute, a powerful run from Watsonians second-row Sophie Anderson, the Scotland cap, saw her go over for their fourth try. McNamara converted and it was 24-0.

Just before the half hour mark a lovely long pass from McNamara found Anderson on the edge and the Glasgow Warriors Celtic Challenge player galloped away and, when she was eventually stopped, passed the ball inside to Conchie who went over for an unconverted try.

In the 36th minute, Watsonians centre Rachel Philipps was yellow-carded and almost straight away their opponents from Glasgow took advantage. Full-back Roma Fraser, who was one of Glasgow’s star players in the Celtic Challenge, went over for an unconverted try and it was 29-5 at half-time.



Philipps returned from the sin-bin in the 46th minute and immediately got herself back into the thick of the action, an arcing run and then good strength seeing her dot down for her side’s sixth try in the corner. McNamara’s conversion just fell short, but her side had a healthy 34-5 lead.

Hillhead then had a good spell before the hour mark and back-row Debbie Lee and Fraser went close to their team’s second try.

And, in the 58th minute, as the pressure kept on coming, centre Hannah McHugh looked like she had scored, but it was not given by the referee and a goal-line drop out was awarded.

The Glaswegians then brought on the experienced prop Heather Lockhart, who previously earned 89 caps for Scotland, and the last 20 minutes were scoreless so the trophy headed to Myreside.

Stephen Gillies, the Hillhead Jordanhill head coach, said:  “The first half was tough, we all know that rugby is a game that is about momentum and when the opposition have it sometimes it can be hard to wrestle it back

“Watsonians played some good rugby in that period and really earned that momentum and sometimes you have to step back and applaud that.

“Our job late in the first half was to regroup from 29-0 down which is not easy, but I must take my hat off to the players, they never let their heads go down and they kept working hard and competing right to the end.

“This result is disappointing for us all, but it doesn’t take away from the steps the 1st team, the second team and the whole women’s section at the club has made in made in recent months and there are lots of exciting plans for the future.”

Hillhead Jordanhill captain Hannah Telling has intimated she will now be retiring and, paying tribute to the back-row, Gillies added:  “HT as we know her has made the call to hang up the boots and she has been brilliant for this club over a number of years.

“On and off the pitch she has been excellent as a captain around the group.”


Teams –  

Watsonians: S Macey; M Taoi, R Philipps, B McNamara, A Conchie; S Clements, R Law©; A Tucker, M Poolman, C Abernethy, A Swan, S Anderson, L Winter, G Laverty, F Walker. Replacements: K King, S Donnelly, J Menday, C Hall, L Buckingham, A McKenzie, J Lyons.

Hillhead Jordanhill: R Fraser; S Smolina, H McHugh, E Barlow, B Carberry; C McDonald, H Dunnett; S Marra, F Campbell, P Abernethy, C McGowan, L Crawford, D Lee, H Telling©, K Yeomans. Replacements: R Millar, H Lockhart, R Davidson, S Petiet, M Wales, M Warren, B Tobin.

Referee: Beatriz Casares Fernández


Scorers –

Watsonians: Tries: McNamara 2, Conchie 2, Anderson, Phillips. Cons: McNamara 2.

Hillhead Jordanhill: Try: Fraser.

Scoring Sequence (Watsonians first): 5-0; 7-0; 12-0; 17-0; 22-0; 24-0; 29-0; 29-5 (h-t) 34-5.


Yellow card –

Watsonians: Philipps (36 mins)


Player-of-the-Match: For Hillhead Jordanhill, full-back Roma Fraser showed her talent whenever she got on the ball while skipper Hannah Telling never took a backwards space. Briar McNamara showed bits of stardust as she has all season, but it was her centre partner Rachel Philipps with some very strong running who gets the nod.

Talking point: Could we see Briar McNamara playing for Scotland one day? The New Zealand-reared talent will qualify via residence later this year and her kicking game and eye for a gap could well translate to the international game – she is a big match player with the game smarts to match.

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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

  1. Sarah Beaney Cup

    Well done to Watsons Women for their first half performance which blew Hills well off course.

    The second half was much more even with very few line breaks from either side.

    Well deserved win for Watsons. For my own Club take the benefits of a rest away from it all and come back stronger for 24/25 and chase your league and Cup Final dreams then !!

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