Womens Premier League 2014-15
Thursday 25th September 2014
RHC Cougars Womens XV -v- Murrayfield Wanderers, KO at 19:30pm at Murrayfield
RHC Cougars Womens XV -v- Stirling County
14th September 2014
This Sunday RHC Cougars Ladies went away to Stirling County, both sides keen to bounce back from first round defeats in the Premiership League. After a close first half RHC found their rhythm and sped to a solid 29-3 win over the Stirling side.
The game opened up in Stirling’s favour, as a barnstorming forwards pack made things difficult for the scrambling Cougars defence. The pressure told and RHC failed to retain possession, losing the ball to impressive Stirling rucking time and time again.
Extended possession eventually told and Stirling spent the first ten minutes of the match firmly in the opposition half, eventually forcing a breakdown penalty and slotting an easy kick from between the posts to go 3-0 up.
The early setback forced an RHC rethink and they opened up the game, keeping well away from a Stirling pack which was dominating the breakdown. RHC flanker Hannah Telling made her impact in her first game of season with a strong run down the left wing to bring the Cougars into the Stirling half for the first time. A more inventive backline began to push Stirling’s defence, winger Sarah Nimmo popping a kick over towards the corner and chasing it down herself only to be pulled into touch.
A knock-on gave Stirling a scrum in their own 22, only to have it wheeled by RHC. A solid returning scrum gave Cougars all the opportunity they needed and no.8 Karen Dunbar crashed over to give Cougars the leave just before half time. The confidence boost gave RHC all they needed to get rolling and skipper Claire Bain went over two minutes later to extend their lead as the whistle went. Cougars 10 – 3 Stirling.
Stirling came back on straight into the offensive, their no.8 man of the match causing no end of issues with two breaks and forcing an overlap saved by a last-minute tackle from RHC full-back Leanne Neary. Stirling piled on the pressure with another five minute sitting in the RHC five-metre, a try-scoring opportunity ended by an impressive double tackle from Neary and Fly-half Tanya Griffith.
Neary and Griffith began a regular team-up, the fly half responding immediately with a break down the right win and pop to Neary, who dodged or handed off four tacklers on her way to her first try of the game. Bain converted to give RHC a clear 17-3 lead.
Cougars came straight back from the restart to camp in the Stirling 22 only to be held back by an impressive defensive effort. A couple of knock-ons were won back in moments as the Cougars scrum dominated their opposition, led by a man of the match performance by loosehead Sarah Edgar. Faced with continuing resistance Griffith and Neary teamed up again as the fly-half’s enterprising grubber put Neary over for her brace in the corner.
Stirling, keen for a comeback, began to take advantage of continuing control of the ruck with a forwards rumble 60m down the pitch to sit on the RHC tryline. Over five minutes of repeated attempts at the line converted to nothing as three successive try attempts were held up. An eventual knock-on gave Griffith all the excuse she needed to boot the ball down the other side of the pitch.
An exhausted set of forwards began to open up the game, with both man of the matches coming off injured with 20 minutes on the clock. A more even scrum evened out the game, only to have RHC scrum-half Mhairi Grieve burst through three missed tackles, bright pink boots a blur as she evaded two covering defenders to touch-down between the posts.
Bain slotted through to complete a strong performance for the Edinburgh side. Both sides opened still looking rusty but found their pace in the second half. With a 26 point victory the Cougars’ superior set piece and experienced back line took the match, with plenty to build on for both sides before round three.
Final Score, RHC Cougars 29 – 3 Stirling County.
27 January 2013
Photos of the game against Melrose are available to view in the gallery pages
Photos are by Neil Thomson.