Hillhead Jordanhill 1XV 42 – 7 Stirling County 1XV
The balance of power in this match was evident in the line up of the two sides in this Sarah Beaney Cup semi final. “Hilljills” fielded four of the current National Ladies team, Lindsey Smith and the McMillan sisters, captain Louise and Siobhan, in the forwards with Hannah Smith in the centre. The visitors Stirling had only two players with current representative experience, Siobhan Cattigan and Megan Kennedy. Additionally, the home team were able to field two vastly experienced players in former Six Nations veteran prop forward, Heather Lockhart, and Rachael Whyte at scrum half.
Dominant First Half
The first half was very tough for County. The home side was dominant in both the set piece and line out, creating shoals of possession for the speedy three quarters to use. When they were halted by a steady visitors defence, breakdown ball was quickly moved by the lively Rachael Whyte to the powerful second row, Sophie Anderson, and no. 8 Kirsty McConnell. It was only stout County defence that kept the score to twenty seven points to nil at half time. Sophie Anderson touched down twice, Emma “Gary” Barlow and Siobhan McMillan once each and a penalty try was conceded by the visitors, who were unable to resist the fierce pressure from the home scrummage.
County Fought Back in Second Half
Stirling came into the game more in the second half and Abi Evan’s quick thinking in defence saved “HillJills” on more than one occasion. The visitors were, however, unable to live with the home team’s dynamic style. The physicality of Lindsey Smith at hooker also posed a threat, who showed no mercy in handing off many would be defenders when driving in open play. Despite “HillJills” fielding most of their bench, tries continued to come from Emma Barlow who seemed to be wearing roller skates on the wing such was her speed, Kirsty McConnell and Hannah McHugh, the new recruit who on this display showed that a “day out of Hawick is NOT wasted”. The only flaw in the home performance was the absence of a reliable goal kicker with Amanda Jane absent from the line up. Despite their fatigue, Stirling rallied well in the last five minutes to score a well worked close range try which they converted to provide some respectability to the final score line of forty two points to seven for the home team.
Cup Final Beckons
This win takes “HillJills” to the Sarah Beaney Cup final at Murrayfield on the 28th April, kick-off 2.10pm, International Pitch, where they will take on Watsonians after their shock defeat of Murrayfield Wanderers. The final will be part of Silver Saturday, where all the Women’s and Men’s Cup Finals will take place, along with the 1872 Cup between Edinburgh and Glasgow, tickets can be bought here. Further details around travel and information for Hillhead Jordanhill supporters will follow in due course.
Words: Bernie Mitchell
Images: Hamish Adamson