Sarah Beaney Cup round-up: Watsonians and Hillhead Jordanhill book their places in final

Stirling County miss out despite 100-0 victory over Garioch

Watsonians' hat-trick scorer Sophie Anderson is tackled by Kate Yeomans of Hillhead Jordanhill, with Hannah McHugh, Debbie Lee and Sonia Smolina in close attendance. Image: Gerri Doherty, City of Glasgow College.
Watsonians' hat-trick scorer Sophie Anderson is tackled by Kate Yeomans of Hillhead Jordanhill, with Hannah McHugh, Debbie Lee and Sonia Smolina in close attendance. Image: Gerri Doherty, City of Glasgow College.

AFTER a dramatic day of action in the Sarah Beaney Cup group stage on Saturday, reigning champions Watsonians and 2022 winners Hillhead Jordanhill secured their places in the final. That meant Stirling County, the only other team still in contention, missed out on the chance of playing at Murrayfield on April 27th as part of ‘Silver Saturday’ despite a resounding 100-0 win over Garioch this weekend.

County, still have a match to play, but Watsonians took five points from a 31-25 away win versus Hills in their final match of the pool stage and, crucially, the Glasgow team earned two bonus points.

That meant that Watsonians finish on 26 points at the top of the table, Hillhead Jordanhill finish on 26 points in second and County are on 20 points so out of reach of a top two finish no matter what happens in their rearranged fixture versus Heriot’s Blues this coming Sunday.


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The Hills-Watsonians match was moved to West of Scotland’s Burnbrae ground given the wet weather and, as was expected, it was a cracker. Sophie Anderson, who played for Glasgow Warriors in the Celtic Challenge and previously earned Scotland honours, led the way for the visitors with a hat-trick of tries. Briar McNamara scored their other two tries and kicked three conversions as they became the first team to defeat Hillhead Jordanhill in the Cup this term to date.

Debbie Lee, Philippa Abernethy, Hannah McHugh and Carla McDonald scored the home side’s tries with Millie Warren converting one and kicking a penalty as they finished within seven points of the victors and took a four try bonus.

“First of all, credit to Hills for a great game,” Watsonians head coach Bruce Millar said. “They threw everything at us and played some brilliant rugby in a howling gale. We looked slightly rusty having not played in five weeks and took our time to get going.

“We had one 15-minute spell in the second half when things clicked in attack which – along with some individual brilliance, dogged defence, and a solid set piece – was enough to see us through to another final which we are incredibly excited about.”

Stephen Gillies, the Hillhead Jordanhill head coach, said:  “We’re delighted to have Silver Saturday to prepare for and look forward to.

“Week-to-week in this competition we’ve developed and built as a squad and that hard work has ultimately paid off.

“It was an incredibly competitive game played at a very high level. Right up until the last play it could have gone either way, so well done to Watsonians for the win in the end.

“I really hope those watching got an idea of the high standards within the women’s game just now.

“We’ve had 34 players play in the Cup run so far. Our responsibility now, as a full group, is to spend the next few weeks preparing like we always do With plenty of fun and focus.

“Murrayfield is special. The opportunity to show the best version of ourselves in the big one is one we’re excited about.”

All of which boils down to these sides now meeting again at the national stadium in three weeks’ time.

 

 

Meanwhile, Fi Keys, skipper Jodie Murdoch, Sam Taganekurukuru (2), Alex Love (2), Sophie Murphy, Sky Phimister (2), Holland Bogan (2), Kiera MacDonald, Ceitidh Ainsworth (3) and Hev Davis were the try-scorers, with Ainsworth converting 10 times, in that big win for Stirling County over Garioch.

“It was an excellent performance in horrendously windy conditions at Bridgehaugh,” County head coach Mark Ainsworth said. “Great credit must go to the mentality of all 22 girls who racked up our biggest score of the season despite knowing it might ultimately be in vain.

“We are hoping to finish a long, truncated season in style when Heriot’s visit Bridgehaugh this coming Sunday.”

Garioch finish sixth in the standings and their head coach Dave Duguid said:  “A mix of Stirling being very good and chasing the points difference and us struggling with the heavy pitch and really strong wind played its part here.

“At the start of the season our big aim was to stay in the Premiership. Having not won a game last season or picking up any bonus points, it was massive that we ended up getting 14 points in the league and five in Cup this season.

“I am incredibly proud of the players turning up every week even after bad results, but they all had the desire to keep improving. There’s a big gulf between the top five and the bottom three in the top flight, so it’s working hard to try and close that that comes next.”

 

 

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Corstorphine, last year’s finalists, made sure of fourth place in the Cup group stage standings with a 15-12 win at Goldenacre versus fifth placed Heriot’s Blues.

Edinburgh Rugby’s Adelle Ferrie, Tanya Griffith and match winner Lauren Davidson were the try scorers for Cougars, while Millie Capaldi and Hannah Riddoch were the try scorers for the home side in this capital derby with Lisa Martin converting one.

Eric Jones, the Corstorphine head coach, said: “I thought we dominated the first half, but we weren’t clinical enough once we got into the Heriot’s 22 which saw us turn around with a narrow lead which we should have extended in the second half when we had the wind behind us.

“Credit to Heriots though who played the conditions well with Lisa Martin turning our back three with short kicks into the wind. We really showed some resilience though to come back from 12-10 down with three minutes to go and down to 14 players with Lauren Davidson taking her try well.

“It was a nice way to round of the Cup competition ahead of our friendly against Carlisle that’s coming up.”

Craig Robertson, the Heriot’s head coach, said: “In a fixture that had the potential to be cancelled due to the adverse weather conditions on Friday, it was a relief that the ground at Goldacre held up and we were able to go ahead with the match.

“With a squad of 16 and blustery conditions to contend with, the first half for the Blues found us unable to capitalise on a couple of scoring chances and our defence generally held firm against a powerful Cougars pack

“We were 12-10 up heading into the closing stages when Corstorphine scored.

“The team never gave up, played for each other and showed real determination while Matilde Dadie, in her first season at the club, was our Player-of-the-Match and Megan Taylor led the pack exceptionally well and was tenacious in attack and defence.

“Overall, the coaching team were delighted with the performance of the whole team and the progress they continue to make.”


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About Gary Heatly 462 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.

3 Comments

  1. Great to see details of silver Saturday being released with some finals on Alba and some being streamed. The pre COVID Silver Sat was a superb showcase for club rugby. Hope for more of the same.

  2. It is true that Stirling were depleted away at Hills which is I presume point you are making Stuart? A knockout contest sounds maybe more reasonable but then what would be the meaningful fixtures? Perhaps a Scottish version of XV would work best?

  3. The balance of the women’s season needs to be reviewed. The Celtic Challenge is great but should not interfere with the league or cup. The cup could be abbreviated and run as a knockout, rather than a ‘sprint league’ which it has been this year. The time during the Celtic Challenge should be used for development of more squad depth, with some meaningful fixtures but not Premiership and Cup games.
    Good luck to Watsonians and Hills in the final.

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