Watsonians retain Women’s Tennent’s Premiership league title
Like much of the country, it was blowing a hoolie at Myreside for the Women’s Tennent’s Premiership final between Watsonians and Hillhead Jordanhill.
At 2pm today (Saturday 29 January) action got underway with the Glasgow-side kicking off into the wind, finding the hands of Watsonians in the 22.
The opening minutes saw some intense phases of play with Watsonians struggling to make meters against a strong Hillhead defence.
After phases of play which saw both sides concede penalties, Watsonians soon found their footing and Briar McNamara opened the scores, in what would be the first of a hat-trick of tries for the inside-centre. She went on to convert her try to give the home side a 7-0 lead.
The visitors were quick to respond, and after a number of attacking phases, Hillhead seemed to be gathering positive momentum as they made their way towards the try line. Unfortunately, 10 meters out, Watsonians turned the ball over.
Utilising their back line, the ball found winger Fran McGhie, who was able to dance her way along the left-hand side of the pitch to score under the posts. McNamara converted with ease, and the hosts led 14-0.
Utilising their forward pack, Watsonians steadily made their way towards the 10-meter line, with Hillhead trying to knock them back at every phase. Despite Hillhead’s defensive efforts, Watsonians forward pack couldn’t be held back, and it was Hooker Kaeli King who grounded the ball for Watsonian’s third try of the game. McNamara added the extras to extend their lead to 21-0.
Two additional scores were made by Watsonians in the opening half of the match, one from lock Sarah Jones and the other from McGhie.
Half time score: 31-0
Watsonians got the second half under way, getting off to a strong start as number 14, Bryony Nelson scored in the open ten minutes. Unfortunately, the windy conditions put a stop to McNamara’s conversion attempt.
The next ten minutes of play saw action switch from end to end, with possession switching between Hillhead and Watsonians several times. The defensive efforts from Hillhead were extremely commendable, however just 10 meters out, Watsonians scrum-half Rachel Law found a gap in the line, and scored a try between the posts, which was then successfully converted by McNamara.
McNamara then added two further tries to the scoreboard. One of which saw the centre make an outstanding interception of the ball at Hillhead’s 22, kicking the ball up the pitch to then score beneath the posts. She followed through with her fourth conversion of the game.
With less than ten minutes till the final whistle, the hosts extended their lead by with tries from Susie Clements and Fran McGhie making the score 67-0.
Whilst the score line wasn’t in Hillhead’s favour, the squad never gave up and pushed hard in the final 15 minutes of the game with the forward pack proving to be particularly dominant.
Watsonians retain the title and are crowned winners of the Tennent’s Premiership for 2021/22.
Full time score: 67-0
Watsonians: 15. Shannon Macey 14. Bryony Nelson 13. Susie Clements 12. Briar McNamara 11. Fran McGhie 10. Claire Bain 9. Rachel Law 8. Alice King (C) 7. Laura Wilkie 6. Freya Walker 5. Sarah Jones 4. Nicola Brown 3. Sarah Donnelly 2. Kaeli King 1. Ailie Tucker
Replacements: 16. Jamiee Relph 17. Sarah Kearley 18. Hannah Davisson 19. Mary Nelson 20. Julie Lyons
Tries: McNamara (3), McGhie (3), K. King, Jones, Nelson, Law, Clement
Conversions: McNamara (6)
Hillhead Jordanhill: 15. Emma Barlow 14. Karen Bennett 13. Lucy Mills 12. Hannah McHugh 11. Penelope Saverton 10. Carla McDonald 9. Marie Wales 8. Debbie Lee (C) 7. Hannah Telling 6. Frances Campbell 5. Tallulah Armstrong 4. Katherine Yeomans 3. Aimee Johnston 2. Stella Kyalikunda 1. Philippa Abernethy
Replacements: 16. Heather Lockhart 17. Rochan Millar 18. Samantha Beal 19. Juliet Ross 20. Brogan Carberry
Match Officials: Calum Lazenby (Referee), Digby Thomas (Assistant), Alistair Watt (Assistant)
Scoring Sequence: 5-0; 7-0; 12-0; 14-0; 19-0; 21-0; 26-0; 31-0 (HT) 36-0; 41-0; 43-0; 48-0; 50-0; 55-0; 57-0; 62-0; 67-0.