So Near But So Far for the Gallant U18’s at Murrayfield
STIRLING COUNTY 36pts HILLHEAD/JORDANHILL 26pts
After some seventeen minutes of the Girls U18 final played on the main pitch at Murrayfield, Stirling had rattled on some nineteen points without any sign of reply and matters were beginning to look ominous for the “Hills” with a drubbing the likely outcome. Yet the “Hills” girls rallied in the second quarter of the game restricting their opponents to only one further score and coming close to a score themselves, being held up on the Stirling line on the final play of the first half.
Whatever motivational words were delivered to their charges by the coaches, Mesdames Konkel, Openshaw and Watson, are uncertain but they seemed to have been wired to a slow burning fuse, as Stirling scored immediately on resumption of the second half. Now Stirling, thirty one points ahead, appeared to be on “easy street” BUT then “Hills” burst into life. Urged on by captain Elis Martin and the strong running from deep by Erin Haldane, Allana McWiiliam opened the scoring, followed quickly by the elusive Helen Frater and powerful no. 8 Erin Foley, and then in the 65th minute by Helen Frater again, a constant thorn in the side of Stirling for the whole of the second half. Stand-off Melanie Grant converted three of these to leave the score tantalisingly at Stirling 31 Hillhead/Jordanhill 26 with only some five minutes to go.
A game which had looked to be a run away success for Stirling in the first half had turned totally and the result was now on a knife edge due to “Hills” second half resurgence. The concluding and clinching score when it came in the 68th minute resulted from a Stirling breakaway with more than a hint of the ball being knocked on as the attacker crossed the line. After consultation the try was awarded, but there was too little time left for the “Hills” girls to mount any kind of offensive and Stirling ran out winners in what was a fine advert for Girls development rugby.
This was some experience for all of the “Hills” squad to be involved in a National final played in the intimidating confines of BT Murrayfield. Each is to be congratulated on their commitment and performance. The squad will now be able to take confidence from this game forward into next season when hopefully they will all return for training for the new Season.
“Hills” Cup Final squad: Erin Haldane, Rachael Waddell, Meghan Davis, Helen Frater, Brogan Carberry, Melanie Grant, Niamh deans, Anne Young, Elis Martin ( C ), Aimee Johnston, Tallulah Armstrong, Eve Thomson, Allana McWilliam, Lucy Mills, Erinn Foley.
Replacements Sara Akinrinbola, Christy Smith, Amy Saunders, Zoe Toner, Elissa Burr, Eilidh Kelly.