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.