Sarah Beaney Cup Final – Hillhead Jordanhill v Watsonians – kick-off 5.45pm on the international pitch
Hillhead Jordanhill head coach Aird Jardine expects a tough test against Watsonians in the Sarah Beaney Cup final on Saturday evening. Last year, his side coasted to a victory over the same opponents at Murrayfield, but the Myrside outfit have come on a lot since then.
The Glasgow side are still favourites with the likes of Scotland caps Louise McMillan and Hannah Smith quality operators, but it should be a more competitive fixture this time around. And given the fact that the game will be shown live on BBC ALBA, both sets of players are buzzing for this one.
“The team are all really excited for Saturday,” said Jardine. “We have been working hard throughout the season which has all built up to this so the girls are just raring to go. We are ready to embrace the day.
“It is excellent that BBC ALBA are broadcasting the game which will allow for such a large audience to see the quality of women’s rugby that will be on show.
“Both times we have played Watsonians recently it has been a close affair coming down to just a few key points in the game.
“The more the season has gone on this year the more the girls have come together as a team, there is a real strong sense of cohesion and team spirit amongst them.”
One player who will be key for Watsonians if they are to win this trophy for the first time will be hooker Lana Skeldon.
“The squad at Watsonians has come on a lot since the last final,” said the 25-year-old, who has 34 Scotland caps to her name. “We used that match to show us the things that we needed to work on and when we came back in for pre-season we just worked and worked and worked.
“We managed to beat Hillhead in the final league match although they still lifted the trophy, but it shows we are not far away.
“I love playing for Scotland at Scotstoun, but getting the chance to play for your club at the national stadium is a different feeling and I am proud to be heading there with this bunch of players.
“As a forward pack we know that we have some cracking backs behind us with some real pace, so it really is up to us to win them some good ball.”
Hillhead Jordanhill: L Mills; H McHugh, H Smith, A Watkins, E Barlow; P Mias, M McDonald; R Kerr, S Kyalikunda, H Lockhart, F Syfret, J Ross, J Forsyth, H Telling, L McMillan. Subs: F Wood, K King, A Johnston, E Davie, A Evans, R Francis, A Moore.
Watsonians: E Evans; C Runcie, M Gaffney, A Baillie, B Nelson; N Nightingale©, H Davisson; A Tucker, L Skeldon, M Wright, R Bragg, S Jones, P Muzambe, E Armstrong, A King. Subs: M MacIver, L McCue, E Cotterill, E Jones, C Thery, I Craigie, C McCue.
Bowl Final – Livingston v Greenock Wanderers – kick-off 3.30pm on back pitches
For a relatively new club like Livingston, to reach this stage shows just how much hard work they have put in over recent years and is great for the growth of the women’s game in general. After appearing in the Sarah Beaney Cup pool stages, they went on the road twice to make this final. In the Bowl quarter-final they defeated Hamilton 69-0 before heading to Stornoway and coming out 28-5 victors.
“I originally set up the girls structure at the club and wanted their rugby to continue here as they got older, so we held a ‘come and try’ event a couple of years ago and it took off from there,” said Lee Anne Steel, the Livingston overall club president, who also plays for the team at scrum-half.
“We just want to play rugby and enjoy it so we’re going to give it our all. This year has been a massive learning curve for us, but we are keen to give this our best shot.”
Greenock played on Silver Saturday last year, and are joined this year by their men’s team playing in playing in the Shield Final on the main pitch at 1.15pm, so expect a number of buses to be making the trip through from Fort Matilda to support them both.
“Last year the atmosphere was amazing so we’re really looking forward to taking part again,” said vice-captain Catriona Cowan. “Twelve months ago a few girls missed out due to injuries and being very new to the game so it’s exciting to have them amongst the squad this year.
“It’s our head coach Ally Hunter’s last game coaching us so we’re determined to send him off in the best way possible, he’s been hugely influential within the ladies section so we’ll do our best to make him proud on the day.”
Hunter added: “I’m extremely proud of the girls achievements, their work ethic and buy-in to the brand of rugby we have been trying to develop over the last few months, and I couldn’t think of a better place or occasion than Silver Saturday at BT Murrayfield for my final match coaching them. It should be a brilliant day.”
Livingston: L Moir; E Jenkyns, H Moir, S Madden, L Prentice; L Kidd, L Steele; T Reilly, K McElwee, D McInnes, L Fennelly, K Robertson, K Shiell, R Munro, C Watt. Subs: L Cooper, C Stewart, S Dickson, A Saeed, T Tollan, L McInnes, E Mackie.
Greenock Wanderers: C Cowan; L Cadenhead, C Haldane, E Haldane, C Calderwood; H Mutton©, B Addison; S Hayton, S Hicks, E Gray, G Guertson, K Hemphill, E Grace, A Thomson, T Hemphill. Subs: M Crumlish, L Edwards, H Grace, D Hughes, M Lyle, S Irvine, L O’Neill.
Plate Final – Stewartry Sirens v Glasgow University – kick-off 1.15pm on back pitches
This is a return to the big day for Stewartry after some years away while the university team know all about being part of the culmination of the season having won the Plate last year.
Twelve months ago the student saw off Greenock Wanderers 34-17 and the players in the squad who are returning for this one will use those memories to fuel their performance.
Having played in the Premier League before Christmas, Stewartry will perhaps start this one a favourites, but it does look like being a very close affair.
“We’re all buzzing to get back to Murrayfield this Saturday with a chance in playing for the plate,” said Stewartry head coach David Thomson. “It’s been a few years since we had the opportunity to do so, so getting back is really exciting.
“Glasgow Uni are a strong rugby team and playing some seriously good footy at the moment so Saturday’s game will be a great contest and game to be part of. It’s been a big couple of weeks leading up to Saturday. We’re ready to get back to Edinburgh and Murrayfield for a huge 80 minutes of rugby.”
Glasgow Uni head coach Murray Houston said: “It’s a great achievement for the club to reach another Plate final. With a number of senior players leaving at the end of last season it is a testament to the hard work of those players who have stepped up this year. A number of players from last year’s final will add much needed experience to bolster the squad. We are looking forward to the challenge Stewarty will present and a competitive contest.”
Stewartry had a walkover in their quarter-final and then were on top form in the semi-final when they defeated Inverness Craig Duinan 70-0.
Glasgow University beat Wigtownshire 88-0 in the Plate preliminary round. Further tighter victories over Oban Lorne and Kelso followed on their road to Murrayfield.
Stewartry Sirens: J Yates©; L McKinnon, P Snailham, C Johnstone, D Burnett; L Ritchie, C Manson; D Currie, L Gunn, D Swan, L Ballentine, C Dooley, S Durnam, L Turner, A Henderson. Subs: L McLauchlan, T Tyeson, A Baird, L Ramsay.
Glasgow University: M Grant; C Keenan, I King, J Jesslman, C Olsen; K Hughes, V Renwick©; K Gray, G Walker, E Grant, A Prasad, S Mathew, I Desoindre, T Armstrong, D Lee. Subs: S Huzell, E Gilmour, G Watson, L Webb, M Wales, E Todd, H Preclik.