Silver Saturday preview: Cougars and Watsonians top of the bill in finale to busy season for women’s game

Four matches played in either the international bowl or at the DAM Health Stadium will showcase the domestic game

Corstorphine Cougars and Watsonians will meet in the Sarah Beaney Cup final at Murrayfield on Saturday afternoon. Image: Rugby People
Corstorphine Cougars and Watsonians will meet in the Sarah Beaney Cup final at Murrayfield on Saturday afternoon. Image: Rugby People

IT has been a busy and fruitful time for women’s rugby in Scotland of late and that will continue with four club finals on the agenda during Silver Saturday (being played in either the international bowl at Murrayfield or at the adjacent DAM Health Stadium tomorrow afternoon).

In recent months the league seasons have ended, the Thistles played in the inaugural Celtic Challenge and the Scotland team won two matches in the TikTok Women’s Six Nations to finish in fourth place.

Then, earlier today [Friday] details for Scotland’s involvement in WXV 2 in South Africa in October were announced, which should all help add to the buzz wen eight club sides get a chance to sign off their season’s in style in tomorrow’s climax to the domestic XV-a-side season.


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With the first match kicking-off at 10.30am, its going to be a long day, but a great opportunity to showcase and celebrate this important and often overlooked tier of the game.

The Lowdown –

National Bowl Final:

Perthshire v Hillhead Jordanhill 2nd XV

Venue: DAM Health Stadium @ 10.30am

Teams –

Perthshire: E Paterson; C Lambie, J McConville, H Kirkman, K Whelan; A Ward©, P Watson; S Rennie, G Kidd, F Gordon, C Ray, K Bromley, Z Fummey, S Blackwood, H McKenzie. Subs: B McNab, E Tait, K Binnie, L Robertson, A Davies, L Stewart, R Hunter.

Hillhead Jordanhill 2nd XV: L Brett; A Spiers, B Tobin, H Mulligan, A McNeill; M Warren, C Drew; F Wood, E Evans, M Dillon, G McInroy, K King©, R Davidson, A Gaffney, M Milligan. Subs: E Mather, V Stavropoulou, A Isaacs, K Coyne, I Haque, H Paton, L Willis.

Key battle: Paula Watson versus Chloe Drew.

Team news –

Perthshire: Only two changes to the squad from the semi-final with Gill Kidd returning at hooker and Anna Davies coming onto the bench. Unfortunately, Danni Henderson sustained a concussion at Greenock and is therefore unavailable.

Hillhead Jordanhill 2nd XV: Emily Evans comes in at hooker and Alison McNeill and Amy Spiers are on the wings.

What the coaches say –

“I am delighted that everyone has made it through training unscathed this week. The team were looking focussed and sharp, fine tuning their decision making. The changes within the squad have been seamless and our progress has been marked over the last few weeks …” – Iona Coutts (Perthshire)

“We are delighted to have made it to the National Bowl final where we will be facing off against Perthshire in what promises to be a highly competitive match. They have had some great results in their Bowl campaign and we know it’ll be a tough game …” – Ross Newman (Hillhead Jordanhill 2nd XV)

 

National Shield Final:

West of Scotland v Cartha Queens Park 2nd XV

Venue: Murrayfield @ 12.30pm

Teams –

West of Scotland: A Johnston; E Power, J Scott, E Irving©, R Todd; A Smith, K Wilson; A McHenry, R Morrison, N Burge, L Wilson, C Campbell, A Paterson©, F Gassner, A Watson. Subs: P Duffy, A Blair, R Broadhurst, L Grant, H Foster-Rain, C Reilly, R Millar.

Cartha Queens Park 2nd XV: C Bell; V Halstvedt, E Hancock, R Shankland, M Wilson; S Cockburn, A Rigamonti; L Torrance, G Walker, C Baker, J Enright, R Mathieson, K Gray©, K Brown, I Desoindre. Subs: O Devlin, L Smith, E Cronin, J Duker, A Donaghy, H Welshman, H McCreadie.

Key battle: Rowan Todd versus Victoria Halstvedt.

Team news –

West of Scotland: Back-row Amanda Paterson and centre Emily Irving lead a squad that has been in good form.

Cartha Queens Park 2nd XV: A number of the players in this squad, including player of the match Victoria Halstvedt, were involved in the National Bowl win on this stage last year.

What the coaches say –

“This group of girls have put in some really strong performances to get to Silver Saturday, winning five from five and competition for selection has been brilliant. It has been a full squad effort for the Shield run and I can’t wait to see the West girls run out at Murrayfield and have the opportunity to show off their skills and put in a performance that they will be proud of …” – Lindsey Smith (West of Scotland)

“Having played West in the first round of the competition, they were the better team on the day. However, we dusted ourselves off and look to continue showing the learnings from that defeat on Saturday. The players are excited to show off the improvements they’ve made as a team and are aiming for another win at Murrayfield …” – Steven Mcloughlin (Cartha Queens Park 2nd XV)

 

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National Plate Final:

Oban Lorne v Grangemouth

Venue: DAM Health Stadium @ 3.30pm

Teams –

Oban Lorne: R MacDonald; M Leng, P McKillop, K Sinclair©, D Buckley; S Keppie, A Love; J Campbell, C Fowler, E Picken, G Maclean, R Neville, J MacIntyre, V Speirs, R Sims. Subs: I MacGillivary, E Mitchell, L Stewart, L MacMillan, F Cunningham, K Hamilton, A Barr.

Grangemouth: E Severs; S Ferguson Ward, H Innes©, D Sutherland, A Coyle; L Prentice, K Morgan; A Stirrat, E Russell, H Robertson, P Isdale, R Cook, J Cram, J Purcell, N Barlow. Subs: Z Chaston, P Vougiouklaki, S MacLean, S McCormack, J McCusker, L Dempsey, C Summers.

Key battle: Poppy McKillop versus Heather Innes.

Team news –

Oban Lorne: The squad is well led by Kirsty Sinclair from the centre and the squad took a lot of confidence from a 46-14 semi-final win at Strathmore.

Grangemouth: Numbers have been great this season, so the matchday 22 has been picked from a 30-strong group.

What the coaches say –

“We were really struggling with numbers when the Covid restrictions lifted and we were allowed to play contact sports again. We went away with 11-12 players to some games, but credit to the team for pushing through the hard times. I cannot find the words to express how proud I am of our captain, Kirsty Sinclair, for what she has done over the last couple of years for the team  great leaders inspire greatness in others. We as a club, on the whole, are on the mend and are really working together to be ‘one family’. The men’s and women’s teams are working hand in hand on and off the park to make it enjoyable. I cannot stress how proud I am of this group to go from where we started to where are heading. From the coaches, we are humbled and proud to be part of your journey …” – Corrie Lowe (Oban Lorne)

“As a club we have gone from strength-to-strength over the last few years, we have gone from pleading with people on a Saturday night  sometimes Sunday morning  to come along just to get 15 players on the pitch. Now we have a full squad of 22 for each game with players having to miss out, like the semi-final and final where we had to pick 22 from 30. We are a friendly club where people of all abilities are welcome, from women who have never picked up a rugby ball to women who have bags of experience. It’s great to make the final, it will be an experience for those who have not been there before …” – Allan Douglas (Grangemouth)

 

 

Sarah Beaney Cup Final:

Watsonians v Corstorphine Cougars

Venue: Murrayfield @ 3.10pm

Teams –

Watsonians: J Lyons; M Nelson, F McGhie, B McNamara©, C Runcie; S Clements, R Law; A Tucker, K King, C Abernethy, A Swan, S Donnelly, F Walker, G Laverty, S Anderson. Subs: S Kearley, M Poolman, J Menday, K Craig, C Bain, A Hughes, S Macey.

Corstorphine Cougars: K Honjigawa; l Young, A Clark, S Callender, R Laurenson; T Griffith, Z Turner; E Dunbar, L Park, K Fraser, L Kidd, A Ferrie, L Lauter, A Stewart, E Turner©. Subs: L Green, M Gunderson, L Glendinning, P Benson, L McGrotty, E Mullen, R Bestwick.

Key battle: Sophie Anderson versus Emma Turner.

Team news –

Watsonians: There’s only one change to the pack which beat Hills in the semi-final with Freya Walker returning to the back-row. Mary Nelson moves to the wing to accommodate Rachel Law at scrum-half, Julie Lyons switches from centre to her preferred full-back role and Francesca McGhie returns from an outstanding Six Nations at centre. Sarah Kearley, Molly Poolman and Karis Craig are all added to the bench.

Corstorphine Cougars: The squad remains unchanged from the one that beat Stirling at Union Park six days ago in the semi-final. Emma Turner captains from No 8 while her sister, Zoe, is at nine and former Scotland stand-off Tanya Griffith, 35 on Friday, is at 10. Merryn Gunderson and Lily Glendinning have featured a lot this season and will aim to make an impact from the bench. Emma Wood misses out due to ongoing injury, but is looking good to be back for next season.

What the coaches say –

“For the first time this season everyone is fit and with our Scotland, Futures and under-18 international players available again, selection for the final was incredibly difficult. We’ve picked a team which is certainly capable of winning, but we’re under no illusions as to how difficult a task that will be against a Cougars side who have beaten us twice this season. However, if we trust our structures and front up in defence like we did in the semi-final, I’m confident we’ll produce a performance we can be proud of …” – Bruce Millar (Watsonians)

“Last week we put in an excellent performance at Union Park to get to the final. We hadn’t played a competitive match in around five weeks and we can sometimes be a little rusty coming off such a long break, however, a bounce match against Cartha and an internal 15-a-side game kept us ticking over and it was a relief to see us score early against County. The challenge this week is the six day turnaround from the semi into the final. We had that on three occasions in the league this year, so the players should be used to it. They have all worked incredibly hard over the whole season and it would be great for the players to end 2022-23 on a high at Murrayfield. Watsonians have suffered from injuries through the season and it looks like they’ll have close to their strongest side back, so we’ll not be taking them lightly …” – Eric Jones (Corstorphine Cougars)

Verdict: When these sides met in the Premiership semi-final back in January, Cougars came through 17-0 in tough conditions. Watsonians have key players such as back-row Freya Walker and centre Francesca McGhie back and the club have been to four finals in a row, but if Corstorphine can back up their fine performance in the 49-19 last four win over league champions Stirling last weekend they could just get over the line here after an entertaining tussle.

Corstorphine Cougars win.


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About Gary Heatly 457 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.