Tag: #HTID

Hills Golden Girls Shine on Silver Saturday

Hillhead Jordanhill 68 pts Watsonians 12 pts

By beating their Edinburgh rivals in the Sarah Beaney Cup Final on Silver Saturday at BT Murrayfield, HillJills completed a league and cup double for season 2017/18. A half time score of thirty two points to nil left too much of a gap for the brave Watsons team to make up, although they did cross the victor’s line twice in the second half to bring some respectability to the final score.

The basis of the victory was a superior team performance and four standout players on the day : no. 8 and captain, Louise McMillan, who consistently distributed the ball well from the base of the scrum and also carried well in the loose; Lindsey Smith, at tight head prop, whose scrummaging was too robust for her opposite number ; Abi Evans, at full back, who ran well in open play and whose changes of direction Watsonians could not cope with ; and the player of the match, Hannah Smith, whose beautifully balanced running and physicality in ball carrying caused the Edinburgh side traumas the whole game. Watsons could offer only Lana Skeldon in direct comparison.

HillJills scrummaging was dynamic and kept their opposition on the back foot the whole of the game thereby providing a regular supply of ball. The veteran Rachael Whyte also had a fine game at scrum half and ensured a plentiful flow of ball was moved wide. First half scorers were Erinn Foley who touched down first from close range, followed by Abi Evans (three tries) , Emma “Gary” Barlow (one) and Hannah Smith (one). Uncharacteristically, Ally Cook had an off day with her goal kicking and converted only one of the six first half tries, although she more than made up for these lapses with a fine game in midfield. Second half scores were recorded by Hannah Smith (three), Louise McMillan (one), Lucy Mills (one) and Abi Evans (one). Replacement full back Amanda Moore added two conversions and Sophie Anderson one. Second rower Sophie had to be taken from the field with what looked like a serious leg injury, but she bravely returned on crutches to take her place with the rest of the squad for the medals presentation.

 

The Golden Girls can then look back on a very successful season, losing only one league game against Wandies away back in November 2017. Their coaching triumvirate of Thomas Davidson, Morgan Martin and Tonci Buzov deserve credit for their professionalism at the many training sessions throughout a long and demanding season.

Words: Bernie Mitchell
Pictures: David Whyte

Hilljills Put on a Glorious Sight to Secure League Title

“Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive: Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,” This could be mistaken as a side-line description of a rugby game, of a pack of forwards hungry for the ball in a scrum. However, it is taken from Rabbie Burns’ “Address to a Haggis”, describing a hungry pack of diners devouring their dinner.

The game which took place between Hilljills and Stirling County on the day after we celebrated the great Robert Burns could be summed up in a much simpler phrase, taken from the same poem: “O what a glorious sight”. The supporters who ventured out in the plummeting temperatures were entertained under the lights of Hughenden by a display of clinical set pieces, precise passing and fast powerful running which saw Hillhead Jordanhill run in 13 tries overall, of which 7 were converted. Stirling, as always, put up a strong fight and at times had a solid defence and some clever play saw them touch down early into the second half, hinting at a possible comeback, which never showed face.

The game was off to powerful start with Sophie Anderson breaking a tackle and crashing over the line with only 3 minutes gone on the clock. 5 minutes later fullback Amanda Moore threw a clever dummy to put herself over the try line. Play then slowed down as the forwards took centre stage and competed in a number of scrums on Stirling’s 5m line before the ball was shipped once again to Moore who crossed the line and subsequently converted the try to bring it to 17 points in the same number of minutes.

The rest of the 9 tries in the first half came from a mix of backs and forwards, clearly showing the depth of talent in the Hilljills squad. A side step master class was performed by backs Sarah and Hannah Smith who ran in 1 and 2 tries respectively. Constant powerful running by Abi Evans was rewarded when a lineout ball was shipped across field to put her in at the corner. With forwards not wanting to shy away from the points tally both Hannah Telling and Kirsty McConnell showed pure class to beat the defence and cross the line. All but 3 of the first half tries were converted by full back Amanda Moore bringing the half time score to 57-0.

The second half took a slightly slower pace with Stirling County showing both a strong defence and keen attack. They were rewarded for this early on when they fought back and claimed their first try of the night; a missed conversion brought the score to 57-5. From here supporters might have mistaken the game for a round from the Australian Open as the ball was kicked back and forth down the pitch as both teams fought to settle back in to the game. Thankfully, the cold was there to remind us we were at Hughenden and after a slow advance from Hilljills, Hannah Smith reached out to put the ball over the line, claiming her hat-trick and bringing the score to 62-5.

Once again the forwards stood up to the mark with a scrum on Stirling’s 5m line. A keen eye for space came from Hilljills skipper Louise McMillan who opted to pick and go left before shipping it out to winger Emma Barlow who danced over the line in fine form.

The second hat-trick of the night came deservingly to Amanda Moore who backed herself from half way, beat the Stirling defence and crashed over the line, she then converted to bring her personal points tally for the night to an impressive 29. This solid display of attack paired with a number of critical tackles earned Moore Player of the Match. The final try of the night came from Abi Evans who once again showed impressive pace to cross the line at the corner.

The final minutes of the game showed a revival of the strong Stirling defence who held off any Hilljills advances. Credit must be given to the Stirling side who showed fight and determination throughout the entire game in the face of a relentless Hilljills. The final whistle came with the scoreboard sitting at 79-5, giving Hilljills a bonus point win and putting them 11 points clear at the top of the table with only 2 games to go. This crowns Hillhead/ Jordanhill as winners of the BT Women’s Premier League.

Scottish Rugby were there to present the well-deserved trophy to the squad whose hard work throughout the season has been outstanding both on and off the field. With Hilljills regularly turning out 20 plus girls for training each week it is clear to see the foundations of this team are built on hard work and a hunger for perfection, which is now paying off. Captain Louise McMillan reflected on this after the game: “The girls have been rewarded for the hard work put into the season so far. Our focus now turns to the Premier Development Cup and Sarah Beaney Cup where we hope to retain both titles to take 3 out of 3.”

Hillhead/Jordanhill Squad: Siobhan McMillan, Lindsey Smith, Heather Lockhart, Hannah Telling, Sophie Anderson, Marta Estellés Chaparro, Kirsty McConnell, Louise McMillan (C), Rachael Whyte, Sarah Smith, Lucy Mills, Hannah Smith, Abi Evans, Aimée Watson, Amanda Moore, Debbie Falconer, Fiona Reardon, Stella Kyalikunda, Ally Cook, Emma Barlow

Stirling County Squad: Megan Kennedy, Tracy Scott, Rowan McNeil, Sarah Murdoch, Shannon Goundry, Nikki McLeod, Heather Davis, Lyndsay O’Donnell, Jodie, Hutton, Rachel Shankland (C), Amy Bilsborough, Siobhan Cattigan, Katrina Roszynski, Katie Mcliwraith, Lindsay Macnaughton, Ashley Aitken, Lara Flint, Rhonwyn Spence, Jenny Menday, Eilidh McNab

Hilljills now move on to the next challenge of The Premier Development Cup. Round 1 is away against Stewartry Women on Sunday 4th February, 14:00 KO.

Report: Hannah McHugh
Pictures: Hannah McHugh; Grant Payne

More photos from the game can be seen on the snsgroup website

Jade chez les Ch’ti – Part 1

2 months into being here in France and I am loving it. It is like a family away from home, although of course I miss my Hillhead-Jordanhill family which will always hold a place close to my heart.

The first training session, I got a shock. The nauseous fatigue during and post session, the language barrier and the whole new experience was a shock to the system but one I knew that I was happy to welcome with both arms. The team are all very helpful on and off the field always available to help and give that extra helping hand when it comes to learning more French and the game project.

The season has commenced and we have made it 2 wins from 2 but that was certainly not without a fight. Sheer fight, war and determination right until the 80th minute with only harder games to come. I love how passionate and emotional the team are – it is right up my street and for those who know me, will know my love for the cheesy motivational quotes. Something there are plenty of here, albeit in a different language. From improving as a player and making life long friends, I wanted to say a huge thank you to Hillhead-Jordanhill club, coaches and players for everything over the last 5 years and everything that has come with being apart of the team.

Jade

Twitter: @JadeKonkel / @LMRCV_F
LMRCV Website
LMRCV Facebook Page

HillJills’ Relentless Display

Hillhead/Jordanhill 64 Murrayfield Wanderers 5

For anyone not attending the game at Hughenden on Sunday 8th of October, the final score would indicate a one-sided game. The reality, however, for the sizeable crowd who were entertained for the full eighty minutes was of a Wandies side who ran, tackled hard and never gave up but were ultimately overwhelmed by the Hilljills squad who all played as if their lives depended on defeating their long time domestic rivals from Edinburgh. For the record, the Hilljills scored ten tries with seven converted with Wandies touching down in the first half.

The early injury to stand-off, Sarah Smith, might have upset some sides but it seemed to galvanise Louise McMillan and her squad who wasted no time in running at the opposition, offloading and always seeking to use the ball in the wider channels. Coaches Thomas Davidson, Morgan Martin and Tonci Buzov must have been delighted to see how well the ball was passed and this incessant pressure ultimately produced gaps in the visitors’ defence which were quickly exploited by the ruthless Hilljills. First half tries came from Nicole Pike, Louise McMillan, Abi Evans and Amanda Moore with full back Amanda converting two. Wandies scored their only try in a rare break out in this half. Six further tries were recorded in the second forty minutes with Louise McMillan adding a further four (five in total-outstanding), her sister Siobhan with one and Abi Evans crossing for her second. Five of these were converted.

In what was a wonderful team performance it would be invidious to pick out any individuals for special mention but it would be remiss not to mention one or two of the home squad. Discretion might persuade the report not to use the term “veteran” but returning scrum half Rachael Whyte on her contribution to the squad reminded all watching of her distribution skills; second rower Jenny Johnston set up go forward ball to very good effect and tight head prop, Heather Lockhart, displayed all the skills which her long career in the women’s game have honed. Birthday girl Aimee Watson did everything but score a try such was her determination to be involved in everything that was good about her side’s performance.

Hilljills now remain unbeaten after their first six league games. A wonderful afternoon of women’s rugby completing a great weekend for the club with 4 wins from 4 for the men’s and women’s senior teams over the weekend.

Hillhead/Jordanhill 64 Murrayfield Wanderers 5
Scorers: Tries-Louise McMillan 5, Abi Evans 2, Nicole Pike, Siobhan McMillan and Amanda Moore
Conversions-Amanda Moore 7

Hillhead/Jordanhill Squad: Siobhan McMillan, Lindsey Smith, Heather Lockhart, Georgie Keys, Jemmy Johnston, Hannah Telling. Kirsty McConnell, Louise McMillan (c), Rachael Whyte, Sarah Smith, Nicole Pike, Abi Evans, Andrea Gaffney, Aimee Watson, Amanda Moore, Marta Estelles Chaparro, Stella Kyalikunda, Fiona Dorman, Emma Barlow, Hannah McHugh.

More photographs by the excellent @craigwatsonpix HERE

The remaining fixture in Premier League Round 1 before the split is away against Ayr on Sunday 22nd October.

A Braveheart Victory

Sunday morning saw the Hilljills’ heavies throwback their curtains and jump for rugby joy. A howler had blown in from the Atlantic overnight; rain, wind, and plummeting temperatures would be manifesting swamp conditions at Bridgehaugh. Praise be to the rugby gods – it was a game for the big guns! A prop pummelling, tub thumbing, dirt digesting forward fest!

However, it was not to be…

Hillhead/Jordanhill’s 43-10 victory against Stirling County on Sunday was a testament to every player on the pitch. An enigmatic flow of forward and back plays that eventually saw a plethora of tries across a variety of positions.

It was not a simple start. To the contrary the girls faced their most challenging opposition this year as County instantly showed up with some smart plays off their 9- who made it clear we had a game of rugby on our muddy paws. Almost over-hyped by the challenge, Hilljills took a while to embrace the concept that they would have to set up several patient phases then earn the rights to utilise the weapons that be on the wing.

It was not until the 22nd minute that the experienced Lockhart bowled over her victim and bounced to the try line. Her first of the season!

This eased the pressure and within the next ten minutes Smith (of the Sarah variety) snaked up the blind side in a display of her positional fusion. Smith demonstrated she is more than a pivotal link player and whipped up the side-line like a greyhound at the races. County answered back with fury proving they were not going to be victim to a big score line. They provided a well worked try out on their left wing as a result of a penalty. In previous seasons being scored against could be said to be the Achilles of the team. However, Captain McMillan did not lose her Kilbarchan mojo. She gathered her squaddies under the posts and insisted all would be well if we do not panic, retain composure and play our systems.

Consequently, the prize for composure arrived in the sparkling form of Evans who sliced her defensive line with her sevens inspired side step and raced to the line.

Holding onto the win would require effort. The conditions were now swampesque and the underfoot terrain caused players to look as if they were playing in the black boots era of 90s rugby. Rising to the challenge the forwards put in some big carries led by veteran Lindsay Smith who inspired her pack to carry forward at all costs.

Unfortunately, in their haste, Hilljills’ penalty count was creeping alarmingly high: they began to dive into rucks like salmon in the Spey and tacklers were not being released for love nor toffee. At half time, big constructive words from a small constructed man ensured the team were aware this statistic was indeed real. His motivational rhetoric was gospel and he challenged the girls to abolish this weakness.

To which they rose! The first quarter of this half was perhaps the most aesthetic of rugby Hilljills had displayed this season. At times they looked like they were playing on a dry summer’s day.Cook and Smith at 9/10 proved integral: the brains to the brawn. Smith’s vision set up several stunning plays and Cook’s strikingly skilful handling sent the soap bar wide. Within minutes, Evans was through for her second. The team moved with grace and pace up the field. Ironic- as they had started to look disturbingly similar to the Moto Moto Hippos in scenes from animated movie Madagascar. It was not long before McMillan showed her international flair and picked up a bobbling loose ball, shook free of the nuisance defenders and danced her way to the line.

Stirling again retaliated and were met with Braveheart defence and solid tackling across the board. Most notably in this area was Andrea Gaffney. Unusually, Gaffney was featuring in the centre (in place of the injured, effervescent Hannah Smith) and it was not long before she made herself heard. Time after time Gaffney used her speed to get off the line and knock back her opposite number –all.day.long. It was almost frightening to watch and an incredible effort for a position debut. Similar Tongan style hits from Jennifer Johnson were made as part of an organised defence.

The sixty third minute saw Gaffney take the hit for the team and was sent to the bin for ten minutes following a repeated error at the breakdown.

Later than usual, Hilljills began to look their comfortable selves and pulled away in the latter stages to record a good victory. Their flow only tempered by a yellow card to Ally Cook (the first of her career), who was penalised for not rolling away despite being a distance away- perhaps a case of mistaken number identity!

Squad: Siobhan McMillan, Lindsey Smith, Heather Lockhart, Georgie Keys, Jenny Johnston, Kirsty McConnell, Hannah Telling, Louise McMillan(C), Saran Smith, Ally Cook, Aimee Watson, Abi Evans, Andrea Gaffney, Emma Barlow, Amanda Moore, Marta Estelles Chaparro, Fiona Dorman, Hannah McHugh, Lucy Mills

Hills will face Murrayfield Wanderers at home this weekend where they intend to hold fort.

Next match v Murrayfield Wanderers, Sunday 8th Oct 2pm kick off at Hughenden

Report: Kirsty McConnell

Hilljills Appoint New Coaching Team

Hillhead/Jordanhill RFC are proud to announce the appointment of a new women’s coaching team for season 2017/18. Thomas Davidson has taken up the helm alongside assistant coaches Morgan Martin and Tonci Buzov.

Thomas Davidson was the Head Coach for Jordanhill School for season 2016/17 and is currently the Head Coach for the BT Academy Glasgow North U16. Thomas ordinarily plays for Cartha QP RFC however he is unable to play this season due to injury.

Morgan Martin, who hails from Lanarkshire, has previously coached women’s rugby abroad, most notably in Australia. His last role was Assistant Coach to the NSW State Junior Women. He is currently playing 1st XV rugby for Hamilton RFC.

Tonci Buzov is the current Head Coach for Strathclyde University Men and is also a junior boys’ coach at Whitecraigs RFC. He is a Croatian International and is in the process of obtaining a degree in rugby coaching. He was the Hills Men’s 1st XV Captain for season 2015/16.

Fiona Dorman, Vice President for Women’s Rugby, said, “These are really exciting appointments for us as a club. All three of the coaches have played for Hills in the past and it is pleasing to have them come back home to Hughenden. The women will shortly begin a dedicated strength and conditioning programme to supplement their Wednesday and Thursday nights’ training. We aim to have the most comprehensive and supportive club programme for women’s rugby in Scotland.”

Pre-season for the junior girls and women started on 26 July 2017. Training will be on Wednesday and Thursday nights at Hughenden (Hillhead Sports Club, 32 Hughenden Road, Glasgow, G12 9XP).

Training for the junior girls commences at 5:30pm and the women’s training commences at 7pm- all welcome. Pre-season fixtures are still to be announced.

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Hilljills Triumph in Murrayfield Cup Final

Hilljills 26-23 Wandies

The final game in the BT Womens Premier League in January had seen these two Clubs pitted against each other on the back pitch at Murrayfield and , on that occasion, “Wandies” had triumphed in a hard fought game by eighteen points to twelve. Fast forward to April and the BT finals on the main pitch at Murrayfield, and the same two Clubs contested the final of the Sarah Beaney Cup with Hills Ladies the victors this time, edging their close rivals by three goals and one try to two goals and three penalty goals.

Classically it was a game of “two halves” with the Glasgow visitors, after a very shaky opening spell in which their rivals raced to a ten points lead in seventeen minutes, settling down with their two main strike runners, their centre pairing Abi Evans and Hannah Smith, proving far too elusive, quick witted and strong for a very porous Edinburgh defence. Hannah Smith ran in the first try from some fifty metres on a mazy route and the second was a touch down from Abi Evans who sprinted clear from some forty metres. Stand off Ally Cook converted both but just failed
with her third kick following another burst of pace and touch down from Abi Evans. Murrayfield chipped away at Hills with another Lisa Martin penalty, but the first half concluded with the sad sight of winger Sarah Smith being stretchered off with a head injury ; and the scoreboard showing the match finely poised at nineteen points to thirteen in favour of the HillJills.

The second forty minutes was altogether a much dourer affair than the first with Wandies dominating territorially and also enjoying the greater share of possession, but finding the Hills defence impregnable. It took Murrayfield some twenty five minutes to break through far out to the right and this time Sarah Nelson kicked the conversion, taking Murrayfield one point ahead.

The margin was increased to four when Lisa Martin, revisiting recent Broadwood Stadium heroics, kicked a penalty goal from some thirty two metres. But Hilljills did not panic with stand off Ally Cook being far from traumatised and showing fine footballing skills to take the game back into the Edinburgh half. Eventually Hills went through some phased plays to create sufficient space for Hannah Smith to dash through the Wandies ranks once more to score to the side of the posts. Ally Cook converted pushing her team some three points ahead with just over three minutes left to play. The final honours were left to Man of the Match , Hannah Smith to boot the ball out of the playing area and bring up no side. The celebrations were then unconfined with players, replacements and coaches, Dean Kelbrick and Graeme Blackhall, all joining in.

This was a fine effort from all the HillJills squad; it would have been all too easy for them to have crumbled after the opening onslaught, but they stuck to it well and emerged worthy winners . It is always invidious to pick out individuals in what was a cohesive team performance but Jade Konkel, who has enjoyed better days with her hands, was an exocet in attack sometimes taking four defenders to halt her ; Mairi McDonald was sharp throughout at scrum half providing an excellent service and Louise McMillan captained the side well and proved a more than useful source of line out ball.

WELL DONE HILLS LADIES AND COACHING STAFF.

Report by : Bernie “the Bunnet” Mitchell
Read also:
SRU Match Report
Article in the Herald Scotland
Article in The Scotman

Kirsty Receives Warriors Tickets

Continuing on the theme of rewarding players for their effort and achievements, Kirsty McConnell work was in the spotlight last week, and is pictured receiving two tickets for Saturday’s Warriors gamer against the Dragons from the club’s head of Rugby, Bernie Mitchell.

Kirsty has a proud family background in the game : her Dad, the “Serge”, was an outstanding back row forward for the Hills and Mum, Christine, was a flying winger for the Hills ladies. Her brother Murray also currently plays professionally for Nottingham.

Kirsty noted : “Yeah, it’s really great to play here at Hills. I get great encouragement particularly when everyone tells me I am a much better player than either my Mum or Dad were”

Hills Narrowly Lose Out in League Title Decider

Murrayfield Wanderers 18 Hillhead/Jordanhill 12

In a very closely fought game watched by a sizeable crowd on the back 4G pitch at Murrayfield on Sunday, Hills lost the BT Women’s Premier League title decider by three tries (plus a penalty) to two (one converted).

In a match that was a fantastic advert for the women’s game in Scotland (televised highlights will be shown on BBC Alba- details TBC), the two top teams in the League produced some excellent running rugby coupled with some outstanding defence and set piece work.

In what might be a unique occurrence for women’s rugby in Scotland in a match at this level, Hills fielded three sets of sisters in the game: the Smiths (Lindsey and Sarah); the McMillans (Louise and Siobhan) and the Haldanes (Caitlyn and Erin). Indeed a small piece of history and one in which they can all be immensely proud.

Teams and full match report: SRU match report

Photos: Rugby People ; Craig Watson and SNS

Both teams will be working hard to prepare for the Sarah Beaney Cup with the quarter finals taking place on the 26th March. The Premier Development Cup (for all Premier teams running throughout February and March) starts on February 5th- full fixtures at www.scottishrugby.org