Hillhead Jordanhill 1st XV Women 25 pts Watsonian Women 1st XV 31 points

With the main Hughenden pitch still heavily waterlogged after all the recent heavy rainfall, this Cup “ semi final” took place on the 4G artificial surface at Burnbrae. The underfoot security offered to the players provided running opportunities for both the big hitting ball carriers, as well as the fleet of foot wingers. Despite the stiff south westerly wind which blew continuously, this was never at any time a “game of two halves” with matters being fairly even. The sub plot was that both sides wished to take something out of the game : Hills to take a minimum of 1 bonus point and Watsonians 5 to ensure both would pip Stirling County to contest the Cup final at Murrayfield.

Playing into the wind, Hills were 10-12 down after the first period of play with Hannah “ Hawick” McHugh and Debbie Lee touching down for Hills. For most of the 3rd quarter, Watsons were dominant and moved ahead 19-10. But Hills came back with prop and team captain, Philippa Abernethy driving over the line. That spurred Watsonians to seek a higher gear, and they soon scored again to lead 26-15. That woke the Hills women up and Carla Mcdonald crossed for a fine individual try, Hills 4th, and therefore the desired bonus point. Sub. Mille Warren converted to bring the score to 26-22 in Watsons favour. Yet again, Watsons raced up the field to touch down for their 5th and final try of the afternoon. Watsons were now 31- 22 pts ahead.

With some 5 minutes left of this pulsating contest, Watsons were penalized for offside some 28 metres out from in front of their posts. Rushing onto the field with kicking tee in his hand it was clear what Hills coach, Stephen Gillies wanted : a further 3 points to yield another bonus point. And Millie Warren obliged with a nerveless strike off the tee to bisect the posts. Both sides had therefore achieved their pre match objectives : Hills with a minimum of 1 bonus point and Watsons 5, 4 for the win and 1 for the 4 try bonus.

As well as the commitment and fitness levels, there was much to admire in the play of both sides. In particular the quality of passing in the three quarters and the use of the loop move from both no. 10s. Both teams now have to do it all again in the Cup final at Scottish Gas at Murrayfield on Silver Saturday, the 27th April.

Image 1 This confirms the intensity of the contest. Watson’s main ball carrier, Sophie Anderson, has been unable to throw off Hills Kate Yeomans, who is holding onto her ankles. Hannah McHugh and Debbie Lee have their eyes fixed on the ball while Sonia Smolina, no. 14, looks on.

Acknowledgements Gerri Doherty, City of Glasgow College.

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