Monday, 28 March 2016

Ayr Ladies 0 Hillhead/Jordanhill 108

Premier League side Hillhead/Jordanhill ran in eighteen tries against Ayr Ladies in the Sarah Beaney Cup semi-final at Millbrae on Sunday, but the home team can still feel proud of getting to the last four of the national cup for the first time.

It was always going to be an enormous challenge to go up against one of the best women's teams in the country, but Ayr were up for the challenge from the start. The scrum held steady in the early stages and there were attempts to run the ball out of their own half. Hills turned over and sprinted away for their first try, which they converted. 0-7.

The visitors tried to put their foot down, but Ayr number eight Lynda Morgan, flankers Rachael Mulholland and Lynsey Turner and winger Erin McSorley put in solid tackles.

It was a worry for the Millbrae ladies when vice-captain Laura Turner went down with a knee injury. She managed to carry on but was later substituted.

There was good work in the loose by front row Louise McLauchlan, Lisa Croniken and Gemma Swankie, but Hills raced off again for an unconverted try. 0-12.

Mulholland and Morgan displayed great hands, with scrum-half Emily Irving and stand-off Catherine Shennan trying to jink round the Hills defence, but another turn-over followed and Hills scored. It went unconverted. 0-17.

Another three scores quickly followed, despite tough tackling by McLauchlan and second rows Ashleigh Nelson and Phoebe McDowall. 0-34.

Croniken was on form at the scrum and in attack but Hills were in control at the breakdown. It was a tough match, with Irving and McSorley needing treatment by Hills' physio. They played on though, typifying Ayr Ladies' spirit.

Hills scored just before half-time and converted. 0-41.

They added another after the resumption, but Ayr were still tracking them down. Ann-Marie Connelly, on for Laura Turner, centre Kelsey Swift and Lynsey Turner combined well to bundle a speedy attacker into touch.

Two further tries followed, and despite a kick and chase by Shennan, Ayr just couldn't get through the water-tight Ayr defence. 0-60.

Winger Lauren McBride and full-back Samantha Morrison were tackling well, but again Hills raced away for another four tries. 0-82.

Three more took the team from Hughenden past a century. 0-101.

Fresh legs for Ayr helped, with forwards Zoe Montgomerie and Michelle Nelson taking the ball out of their own half. Shennan and Swift, both back in a pink and black shirt after a spell in a dark blue one for Scotland U20s, showed off some fancy moves to cheer the large crowd.

Hills had the last say, getting a converted try to bring the game to an end and send them into yet another Sarah Beaney Cup final. 0-108.

Ayr Ladies can hold their heads high, knowing they gave it their all, and did Ayr RFC proud with their cup run.

- Elena Hogarth.

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